• Product liability is a tortuous liability.
It refers to the liability of the
manufacturer of the product, an
assembling manufacturer, the
wholesaler, and the retail store owner
and all others who made the product
available to the consumer, for damage
• There are three types of product defects that incur
liability of manufacturers and suppliers:
• design defects
• manufacturing defects and
• defects in marketing.
• Design defects are inherent. On the other hand,
manufacturing defects occur during the construction
or production of the item. Defects in marketing deal
with improper instructions and failures to warn
consumers of latent dangers in the product.
METHODOLOGY AIMS AND OBJECTIVE
• The researcher has • The aims and objectives are
used the doctrinaire to critically study about the
product liability, which
effectively answers the
problems, faced by the
consumer, and for a fair
distribution of the risks
inherent from the modern
Scope And Limitation
• The scope of the project is confined to the Indian
law with reference to English law, the application
and limitation of the liability, for the harm caused
to the consumer and various cases relating to the
• But due to the lack of time and inadequate
materials, the researcher could not cover the
English and Indian law, as a whole, relating to
• The concept of product liability as
developed in Britain is the basis for the
modern Indian law on the issue and the
‘Law of Consumer Protection’ is a step
towards the development of Indian Law.
• Why manufacturer and others who make the
product available to the public are held
• To what extent a manufacturer and others
can be made liable?
• What is the present law relating to product
• In the case of DONOGHUE V. STEVENSON,
the pursuer, who had consumed part of the
contents of a ginger beer which allegedly
contained the remains of decomposing snail,
sue the manufacturer of the ginger beer.
• In this case the Hon’ble Court has given the
doctrine of proximity. According to the
doctrine of proximity or closeness the
manufacturer is liable for the product.
• Donoghue v. Stevenson applied only to
products, and originally only to food-stuffs.
• Later the principle was extended to any
manufactured products such as an article of
wear 1, motor cars 2, lifts 3 etc.
• 1 Grant v. Australian Knitting Mills Ltd. (1936)
• 2 Herschtal vs. Stewart (1948) 1 KB 85
• 3 Haseldine vs. Daw (1941) 1 KB 343
Privity Of Contract: Liability Confined To
• The doctrine of ‘Privity of contract’ imposes
serious limitations on ‘product liability’. The
buyer’s remedy is only available against the actual
• If the buyer wises to sue the manufacturer he
cannot prime facie invoked the strict liability
involved in a breach of condition or warranty. At
common law this principle sources of remedies
against a manufacturer lay in negligence, showing
breach of collateral contract, or through third party
• However, there is now a major statutory
modification of the common law position in
the part of the consumer protection act 1987
act provides remedies in addition to , rather
than in substitution of, those previously
available, it is still necessary to consider the
position at common law.
Liability Under Consumer Protection Act 1987
Where any damage is caused wholly or partly by a defect in a
• The producer of the product;
• Any person who, by putting his name on the product
or using a trademark or other distinguishing mark in
the relation to the product, has held himself out to be
the producer of the product;
• Any person who has imported the product into a
member state from a place outside the member states
in order, in the course of any business of his, to supply
it to another shall be liable for the damage.
• One common law expedient where by a buyer may be
able to hold a manufacturer strictly liable despite the
apparent absence of Privity is the collateral contract.
• In the case of WELLS V BUCKLAND SAND the
plaintiff bought sand for growing chrysanthemums in
reliance on an express assurance that the sand was
suitable for this purpose. This assurance was not given
by the seller but by the manufacturer. It was held that
there is a collateral contract, and the buyer was
entitled to damages when the sand proves unsuitable
and the buyer suffered loss.
LIMITATIONS on the rights to
sue the manufacturer
• A claimant has 3 years to bring an action,
from either the date on which the action
accrued or, if latter, the date of his
knowledge (i.e., knowledge of the material
facts giving rise to a cause of action).
• Thanks to the judiciary the concept of
product liability is in our reach. It
makes the producer more careful and
save us from the consumption of the
defective goods and services.