Proposal for a Directive on liability for defective product

Author (Corporate)
Series Details COM (2022) 495
Publication Date 28/09/2022
Content Type


Legislative initiative tabled by the European Commission on 28 September 2022, aimed at modernising the existing rules on the strict liability of manufacturers for defective products. This is a text with EEA relevance.

Further information:

The proposed Directive aims to repeal Directive 85/374/EEC - also known as theĀ Product Liability Directive (PLD). The PLD's objective is to provide a common system for compensating people who suffer physical injury or damage to property due to defective products. Since its adoption in the 1980s, there have been changes in the way products are produced, distributed and operated. An assessment was carried out to the PLD in 2018, which highlighted several shortcomings. Those shortcomings were subsequently further analysed in different reports concerning artificial intelligence (AI) and new technologies.

The revision of the PLD seeks to ensure the functioning of the internal market, free movement of goods, undistorted competition between market operators, and a high level of protection of consumers' health and property. The proposed Directive aims to:

  • ensure liability rules reflect the nature and risks of products in the digital age and circular economy;
  • ensure there is always a business based in the European Union (EU) that can be held liable for defective products bought directly from manufacturers outside the EU;
  • ease the burden of proof in complex cases and ease restrictions on making claims, while ensuring a fair balance between the legitimate interests of manufacturers, injured persons and consumers in general;
  • ensure legal certainty by better aligning the PLD with the new legislative framework created by Decision 768/2008/EC and with product safety rules, and by codifying PLD-related case law.

The draft law was adopted by the European Commission on 28 September 2022.

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Alternative sources
Related Links
EUR-LEX: SWD(2022)315: Staff Working Document accompanying the Proposal
EUR-LEX: SWD(2022)316: Staff Working Document accompanying the Proposal
EUR-LEX: SWD(2022)317: Staff Working Document accompanying the Proposal
European Commission: Press Release, 28/09/2022: New liability rules on products and AI to protect consumers and foster innovation
European Commission: Questions and answers on the revision of the Product Liability Directive (28 September 2022)

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