Product liability can have a major impact on a business’s reputation and success, which makes specialist advice essential. Our team of product liability lawyers advises manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers on a wide range of product safety and quality issues at all stages of the product lifecycle. These include the impact of UK product liability law on regulatory notification requirements, recalls, engagement with Trading Standards, packaging, labelling and advertising. We also act for, and provide comprehensive support to, clients facing regulatory investigations, compliance and recalls as well as civil compensation claims.

Our team’s product liability law experience comes from a diverse range of sectors. For example, we advise producers, manufacturers and distributors in the food chain on contamination incidents and support manufacturing and engineering businesses in relation to machinery and engineering faults. Our team also helps energy companies manage safety, regulatory compliance and performance issues.

Areas of focus

Our expertise in product liability includes the following:

  • Regulatory investigations and compliance, including for food safety, labelling and hygiene issues, the REACH Regulation on chemicals and the RoHS Directive on hazardous substances in electronic and electrical equipment
  • Incident management in the early stages of a product recall or withdrawal 
  • Product recall obligations and risk management
  • Trade description and fitness for purpose
  • Packaging and labelling
  • Food safety and contamination investigation/management
  • Insurance
  • Claims for loss and damage

Advising a large food-to-go manufacturer in respect of a product recall arising from contaminated bread provided by a third party.

Acting for a leading supplier and manufacturer of food flavourings and extracts in a claim against a supplier for the supply of foodstuffs contaminated with plastic.

Acting for a blue chip international client in a claim against a supplier arising from the supply of foodstuffs contaminated with fragments of plastic and other materials.

Advising an airline operator on risk management and liability issues in relation to information regarding food allergens and labelling on flights.

Acting for 3M in its successful defence of a claim for compensation for alleged damage to the aquatic environment arising out of the misuse of its fire-fighting products.

Pursuing an ICC arbitration against a leading German engineering company for the provision of bespoke engineered parts to a recycling facility which were not fit for purpose.

Advising a mould manufacturer in relation to the failure of its products, the resulting food contamination incident and associated claims and insurance issues.

Advising a cosmetics manufacturer on contamination of products with traces of asbestos.

Advising a vehicle safety device manufacturer on alleged non-compliance of its products with relevant UK and European legislation.

Defending a petrochemicals business in an investigation by the Dutch police into petroleum products supplied to Continental Europe.

Acting for the UK distributor of a US manufacturer in an investigation and enforcement action by the regulator for products that breached the RoHS Directive on hazardous substances in electronic and electrical equipment.

Advising manufacturers and importers of adventure travel products on safety critical faults with telecoms equipment for shipping, inflator gas canisters on life-vests, camping-gas cookers and contaminants in plastic camping equipment.

Successfully defending a claim against a manufacturer of carbon fibre racing wheels arising from an alleged defect.

Advising a major international soft drinks manufacturer on a product recall and subsequent consumer and contractual claims.

Defending claims arising from alleged faulty engineering maintenance on railway freight wagons.

Providing advice on the application of the European safety regulations in determining whether a faulty mobile communications device and white goods would be considered sufficiently unsafe as to warrant a recall.

Meet the team

Andrew Burnette Partner

  • Dispute Resolution
  • Professional Negligence
  • Banking Disputes

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