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Product Liability

Defective products expose business to significant adverse consequences. At worst this could be fatal to consumers, cause brand damage, huge expense, fines and even prison. Products need to comply with a range of legislation, standards and quality marks. They are vulnerable to design and manufacturing defects, to poor labelling, instructions, storage and misuse, all or any of which can have serious consequences. Managing that risk is therefore essential and business critical.

Our specialist lawyers advise across a wide variety of sectors from food to automotive, from medical devices and drugs to toys. They assist with statutory interpretation, risk identification and with effective practical and pragmatic risk management systems and procedures, whether in a simple or a global supply chain.

If a problem is identified, it is essential to react quickly. We will work alongside your product specialists and in-house team to identify and understand the problem and its potential consequences, advising on notification to the authorities and customers.

The key judgment is the assessment of the risk from the defect: what is the severity of the possible outcome and how likely is that outcome to occur? Our experienced team will advise you on the control measures to take, whether that be recall, advice or retrofitted solutions, working with you to achieve the best possible commercial and legal outcome.

Client Work

  • Advising a manufacturer of products predominately used in schools and public buildings after it emerged that one of the components used in the product did not meet the fire safety standard promised by the supplier. We advised on identification of affected products and batches, solutions to eliminate risk and in negotiations with the supplier to fund the costs and protect our client's goodwill.
  • Delivering bespoke training to the legal, buying and quality control teams of automotive, DIY and internet retail clients on legal compliance, product risk identification and management, prevention and crisis management.
  • Helping a major food manufacturer under investigation by local authority environmental health officers after its product was contaminated. We worked closely with the client to identify the affected batch, the cause of the problem, the risk and the resulting recall options. We then explained all the systems and procedures in place to manage risk to the EHO in order to place the incident and risk in context, successfully persuading them not to take enforcement action.
  • Advising a Communications company in group litigation worth £1.7m brought by a number of Police officers against Lancashire Constabulary who had suffered acoustic shock from using the police's digital radio and communications equipment. The Police brought in the companies who supplied the equipment and related software as part 20 defendants. Our client supplied the software and the headsets used by operators. The Police settled the PI claims with contributions from the commercial defendants not long after the submission of experts reports.

Key Contact

Andrew Litchfield
Andrew Litchfield

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