Financier Worldwide has interviewed Shook Partner Alison Newstead for a feature on product liability trends in the United Kingdom. "The UK's departure from the EU has led to the amendment of the Consumer Protection Act 1987 and a change in the definition of the word 'producer,'" Newstead told the magazine. "Prior to Brexit, claims were predominantly directed at the manufacturer of a product or the first importer of a product into the EU. Post-Brexit, while the position does not change for a manufacturer, the focus of liability shifts from the first importer of a product into the EU to the first importer of a product into the UK. This means that UK distributors that may have previously avoided being drawn into product liability claims as they were not considered as relevant importers for the purposes of the Act will now find themselves subject to a claim."
The interview also covers recent high-profile cases and guidance on handling or mitigating product liability claims. "Companies can take a number of steps to reduce the likelihood of being presented with a product liability claim," Newstead advised. "Implementing a robust quality assurance system will help minimise claims arising from potential design and manufacturing defects. Any such quality assurance system should cover the entire production phase and be both scheduled and unannounced."