Consumer Protection Act 1987
1987 CHAPTER 43
An Act to make provision with respect to the liability of persons for damage caused by defective products; to consolidate with amendments the Consumer Safety Act 1978 and the Consumer Safety (Amendment) Act 1986; to make provision with respect to the giving of price indications; to amend Part I of the Health and Safety at Work etc.
Act 1974 and sections 31 and 80 of the Explosives Act 1875; to repeal the Trade Descriptions Act 1972 and the Fabrics (Misdescription) Act 1913; and for connected purposes.
15th May 1987]
Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—
E1 Act extends to Northern Ireland with specified exceptions, see s. 49
Modifications etc. (not altering text)
C1 Act excluded (30.10.2005) by The Veterinary Medicines Regulations 2005 (S.I. 2005/2475), reg. 44
C2 By the Toys (Safety) Regulations 1989, S.I. 1989/1275, reg. 15(1) it is provided that those Regulations shall be treated for all purposes as if they were safety regulations within the meaning of this Act
C3 Act extended (6.4.1992) by S.I. 1992/711, reg. 30
Act extended (24.2.1995) by S.I. 1995/204, reg. 16(1)
Act applied (1.1.1995) by S.I. 1994/3142, reg. 18(6)
I1 Act not in force at Royal Assent see s.50; Act fully in force 1.3.1989 (subject to reservations in S.I. 1988/2076).
Part I (E+W+S)
1 Purpose and construction of Part I. (E+W+S)
(1) This Part shall have effect for the purpose of making such provision as is necessary in order to comply with the product liability Directive and shall be construed accordingly.
(2) In this Part, except in so far as the context otherwise requires—
[F1 “agricultural produce” means any produce of the soil, of stock-farming or of fisheries;]
“dependant” and “relative” have the same meaning as they have in, respectively, the M1 Fatal Accidents Act 1976 and the [F2 Damages (Scotland) Act 2011] ;
“producer”, in relation to a product, means—
(a) the person who manufactured it;
(b) in the case of a substance which has not been manufactured but has been won or abstracted, the person who won or abstracted it;
(c) in the case of a product which has not been manufactured, won or abstracted but essential characteristics of which are attributable to an industrial or other process having been carried out (for example, in relation to agricultural produce) , the person who carried out that process;
“product” means any goods or electricity and (subject to subsection (3) below) includes a product which is comprised in another product, whether by virtue of being a component part or raw material or otherwise; and
“the product liability Directive” means the Directive of the Council of the [F3 European Union] , dated 25th July 1985, (No. 85/374/EEC ) on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the member States concerning liability for defective products.
(3) For the purposes of this Part a person who supplies any product in which products are comprised, whether by virtue of being component parts or raw materials or otherwise, shall not be treated by reason only of his supply of that product as supplying any of the products so comprised.
F1 Definition of "agricultural produce" in s. 1(2) omitted (S.) (19.7.2001) by virtue of S.S.I. 2001/265, art. 2(2)
F2 Words in s. 1(2) substituted (S.) (7.7.2011) by Damages (Scotland) Act 2011 (asp 7), ss. 15, 19(3), Sch. 1 para. 4(1) (with ss. 17, 19(2)); S.S.I. 2011/268, art. 3, (with art. 4)
F3 Words in s. 1(2)(c) substituted (22.4.2011) by The Treaty of Lisbon (Changes in Terminology) Order 2011 (S.I. 2011/1043), art. 4(1)
M1 1976 c. 30.
2 Liability for defective products. (E+W+S)
(1) Subject to the following provisions of this Part, where any damage is caused wholly or partly by a defect in a product, every person to whom subsection (2) below applies shall be liable for the damage.
(2) This subsection applies to—
(a) the producer of the product;
(b) any person who, by putting his name on the product or using a trade mark or other distinguishing mark in relation to the product, has held himself out to be the producer of the product;
(c) 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.
(3) Subject as aforesaid, where any damage is caused wholly or partly by a defect in a product, any person who supplied the product (whether to the person who suffered the damage, to the producer of any product in which the product in question is comprised or to any other person) shall be liable for the damage if—
(a) the person who suffered the damage requests the supplier to identify one or more of the persons (whether still in existence or not) to whom subsection (2) above applies in relation to the product;
(b) that request is made within a reasonable period after the damage occurs and at a time when it is not reasonably practicable for the person making the request to identify all those persons; and
(c) the supplier fails, within a reasonable period after receiving the request, either to comply with the request or to identify the person who supplied the product to him.
(4) Neither subsection (2) nor subsection (3) above shall apply to a person in respect of any defect in any game or agricultural produce if the only supply of the game or produce by that person to another was at a time when it had not undergone an industrial process.]
(5) Where two or more persons are liable by virtue of this Part for the same damage, their liability shall be joint and several.
(6) This section shall be without prejudice to any liability arising otherwise than by virtue of this Part.
F4 S. 2(4) omitted (S.) (19.7.2001) by virtue of S.S.I. 2001/265, art. 2(3)
Modifications etc. (not altering text)
C4 S. 2(2)(b) amended (31.10.1994) by 1994 c. 26, s. 106(1), Sch. 4 para. 1(2); S.I. 1994/2550, art. 2
3 Meaning of “defect”. (E+W+S)
(1) Subject to the following provisions of this section, there is a defect in a product for the purposes of this Part if the safety of the product is not such as persons generally are entitled to expect; and for those purposes “safety”, in relation to a product, shall include safety with respect to products comprised in that product and safety in the context of risks of damage to property, as well as in the context of risks of death or personal injury.
(2) In determining for the purposes of subsection (1) above what persons generally are entitled to expect in relation to a product all the circumstances shall be taken into account, including—
(a) the manner in which, and purposes for which, the product has been marketed, its get-up, the use of any mark in relation to the product and any instructions for, or warnings with respect to, doing or refraining from doing anything with or in relation to the product;
(b) what might reasonably be expected to be done with or in relation to the product; and
(c) the time when the product was supplied by its producer to another;
and nothing in this section shall require a defect to be inferred from the fact alone that the safety of a product which is supplied after that time is greater than the safety of the product in question.
4 Defences. (E+W+S)
(1) In any civil proceedings by virtue of this Part against any person ( “the person proceeded against”) in respect of a defect in a product it shall be a defence for him to show—
(a) that the defect is attributable to compliance with any requirement imposed by or under any enactment or with any [F5 EU] ; or
(b) that the person proceeded against did not at any time supply the product to another; or
(c) that the following conditions are satisfied, that is to say—
(i) that the only supply of the product to another by the person proceeded against was otherwise than in the course of a business of that person’s; and
(ii) that section 2(2) above does not apply to that person or applies to him by virtue only of things done otherwise than with a view to profit; or
(d) that the defect did not exist in the product at the relevant time; or
(e) that the state of scientific and technical knowledge at the relevant time was not such that a producer of products of the same description as the product in question might be expected to have discovered the defect if it had existed in his products while they were under his control; or
(f) that the defect—
(i) constituted a defect in a product ( “the subsequent product”) in which the product in question had been comprised; and
(ii) was wholly attributable to the design of the subsequent product or to compliance by the producer of the product in question with instructions given by the producer of the subsequent product.
(2) In this section “the relevant time”, in relation to electricity, means the time at which it was generated, being a time before it was transmitted or distributed, and in relation to any other product, means—
(a) if the person proceeded against is a person to whom subsection (2) of section 2 above applies in relation to the product, the time when he supplied the product to another;
(b) if that subsection does not apply to that person in relation to the product, the time when the product was last supplied by a person to whom that subsection does apply in relation to the product.
F5 Words in s. 4(1)(a) substituted (22.4.2011) by The Treaty of Lisbon (Changes in Terminology) Order 2011 (S.I. 2011/1043), art. 6(1)(e)
5 Damage giving rise to liability. (E+W+S)
(1) Subject to the following provisions of this section, in this Part “damage” means death or personal injury or any loss of or damage to any property (including land).
(2) A person shall not be liable under section 2 above in respect of any defect in a product for the loss of or any damage to the product itself or for the loss of or any damage to the whole or any part of any product which has been supplied with the product in question comprised in it.
(3) A person shall not be liable under section 2 above for any loss of or damage to any property which, at the time it is lost or damaged, is not—
(a) of a description of property ordinarily intended for private use, occupation or consumption; and
(b) intended by the person suffering the loss or damage mainly for his own private use, occupation or consumption.
(4) No damages shall be awarded to any person by virtue of this Part in respect of any loss of or damage to any property if the amount which would fall to be so awarded to that person, apart from this subsection and any liability for interest, does not exceed £275.
(5) In determining for the purposes of this Part who has suffered any loss of or damage to property and when any such loss or damage occurred, the loss or damage shall be regarded as having occurred at the earliest time at which a person with an interest in the property had knowledge of the material facts about the loss or damage.
(6) For the purposes of subsection (5) above the material facts about any loss of or damage to any property are such facts about the loss or damage as would lead a reasonable person with an interest in the property to consider the loss or damage sufficiently serious to justify his instituting proceedings for damages against a defendant who did not dispute liability and was able to satisfy a judgment.
(7) For the purposes of subsection (5) above a person’s knowledge includes knowledge which he might reasonably have been expected to acquire—
(a) from facts observable or ascertainable by him; or
(b) from facts ascertainable by him with the help of appropriate expert advice which it is reasonable for him to seek;
but a person shall not be taken by virtue of this subsection to have knowledge of a fact ascertainable by him only with the help of expert advice unless he has failed to take all reasonable steps to obtain (and, where appropriate, to act on) that advice.
(8) Subsections (5) to (7) above shall not extend to Scotland.
6 Application of certain enactments etc. (E+W+S)
(1) Any damage for which a person is liable under section 2 above shall be deemed to have been caused—
(a) for the purposes of the M2 Fatal Accidents Act 1976, by that person’s wrongful act, neglect or default;
(b) for the purposes of section 3 of the M3 Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Scotland) Act 1940 (contribution among joint wrongdoers) , by that person’s wrongful act or negligent act or omission;
(c) for the purposes of [F6 sections 3 to 6 of the Damages (Scotland) Act 2011] (rights of relatives of a deceased) , by that person’s act or omission; and
(d) for the purposes of Part II of the M4 Administration of Justice Act 1982 (damages for personal injuries, etc.—Scotland) , by an act or omission giving rise to liability in that person to pay damages.
(a) a person’s death is caused wholly or partly by a defect in a product, or a person dies after suffering damage which has been so caused;
(b) a request such as mentioned in paragraph (a) of subsection (3) of section 2 above is made to a supplier of the product by that person’s personal representatives or, in the case of a person whose death is caused wholly or partly by the defect, by any dependant or relative of that person; and
(c) the conditions specified in paragraphs (b) and (c) of that subsection are satisfied in relation to that request,
this Part shall have effect for the purposes of the M5 Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934, the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 and the [F7 Damages (Scotland) Act 2011] as if liability of the supplier to that person under that subsection did not depend on that person having requested the supplier to identify certain persons or on the said conditions having been satisified in relation to a request made by that person.
(3) Section 1 of the M6
Congenital Disabilities (Civil Liability) Act 1976 shall have effect for the purposes of this Part as if—
(a) a person were answerable to a child in respect of an occurrence caused wholly or partly by a defect in a product if he is or has been liable under section 2 above in respect of any effect of the occurrence on a parent of the child, or would be so liable if the occurrence caused a parent of the child to suffer damage;
(b) the provisions of this Part relating to liability under section 2 above applied in relation to liability by virtue of paragraph (a) above under the said section 1; and
(c) subsection (6) of the said section 1 (exclusion of liability) were omitted.
(4) Where any damage is caused partly by a defect in a product and partly by the fault of the person suffering the damage, the M7
Law Reform (Contributory Negligence) Act M8
1945 and section 5 of the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 (contributory negligence) shall have effect as if the defect were the fault of every person liable by virtue of this Part for the damage caused by the defect.
(5) In subsection (4) above “fault” has the same meaning as in the said Act of 1945.
(6) Schedule 1 to this Act shall have effect for the purpose of amending the M9
Limitation Act 1980 and the M10
Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973 in their application in relation to the bringing of actions by virtue of this Part.
(7) It is hereby declared that liability by virtue of this Part is to be treated as liability in tort for the purposes of any enactment conferring jurisdiction on any court with respect to any matter.
(8) Nothing in this Part shall prejudice the operation of section 12 of the M11
Nuclear Installations Act 1965 (rights to compensation for certain breaches of duties confined to rights under that Act).
F6 Words in s. 6(1)(c) substituted (S.) (7.7.2011) by Damages (Scotland) Act 2011 (asp 7), ss. 15, 19(3), Sch. 1 para. 4(2)(a) (with ss. 17, 19(2)); S.S.I. 2011/268, art. 3, (with art. 4)
F7 Words in s. 6(2) substituted (S.) (7.7.2011) by Damages (Scotland) Act 2011 (asp 7), ss. 15, 19(3), Sch. 1 para. 4(2)(b) (with ss. 17, 19(2)); S.S.I. 2011/268, art. 3, (with art. 4)
M2 1976 c. 30.
M3 1940 c. 42.
M4 1982 c. 53.
M5 1934 c. 41.
M6 1976 c. 28.
M7 1945 c. 28.
M8 1976 c.30.
M9 1980 c. 58.
M10 1973 c. 52.
M11 1965 c. 57.
7 Prohibition on exclusions from liability. (E+W+S)
The liability of a person by virtue of this Part to a person who has suffered damage caused wholly or partly by a defect in a product, or to a dependant or relative of such a person, shall not be limited or excluded by any contract term, by any notice or by any other provision.
8 Power to modify Part I. (E+W+S)
(1) Her Majesty may by Order in Council make such modifications of this Part and of any other enactment (including an enactment contained in the following Parts of this Act, or in an Act passed after this Act) as appear to Her Majesty in Council to be necessary or expedient in consequence of any modification of the product liability Directive which is made at any time after the passing of this Act.
(2) An Order in Council under subsection (1) above shall not be submitted to Her Majesty in Council unless a draft of the Order has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.
9 Application of Part I to Crown. (E+W+S)
(1) Subject to subsection (2) below, this Part shall bind the Crown.
(2) The Crown shall not, as regards the Crown’s liability by virtue of this Part, be bound by this Part further than the Crown is made liable in tort or in reparation under the M12
Crown Proceedings Act 1947, as that Act has effect from time to time.
M12 1947 c. 44.
Part II Annotations:
Modifications etc. (not altering text)|
C5 Part II : definition of "supply" applied (E.W.)(1.12.1991) by Statutory Water Companies Act 1991 (c. 58, SIF 130), ss. 1(6), 17(2)
10 The general safety requirement.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
F8 S. 10 omitted (1.10.2005) by virtue of The General Product Safety Regulations 2005 (S.I. 2005/1803, reg. 46(2) (with regs. 42, 43)
11 Safety regulations.
(1) The Secretary of State may by regulations under this section ( “safety regulations”) make such provision as he considers appropriate F9
. . . for the purpose of securing—
(a) that goods to which this section applies are safe;
(b) that goods to which this section applies which are unsafe, or would be unsafe in the hands of persons of a particular description, are not made available to persons generally or, as the case may be, to persons of that description; and
(c) that appropriate information is, and inappropriate information is not, provided in relation to goods to which this section applies.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1) above, safety regulations may contain provision—
(a) with respect to the composition or contents, design, construction, finish or packing of goods to which this section applies, with respect to standards for such goods and with respect to other matters relating to such goods;
(b) with respect to the giving, refusal, alteration or cancellation of approvals of such goods, of descriptions of such goods or of standards for such goods;
(c) with respect to the conditions that may be attached to any approval given under the regulations;
(d) for requiring such fees as may be determined by or under the regulations to be paid on the giving or alteration of any approval under the regulations and on the making of an application for such an approval or alteration;
(e) with respect to appeals against refusals, alterations and cancellations of approvals given under the regulations and against the conditions contained in such approvals;
(f) for requiring goods to which this section applies to be approved under the regulations or to conform to the requirements of the regulations or to descriptions or standards specified in or approved by or under the regulations;
(g) with respect to the testing or inspection of goods to which this section applies (including provision for determining the standards to be applied in carrying out any test or inspection) ;
(h) with respect to the ways of dealing with goods of which some or all do not satisfy a test required by or under the regulations or a standard connected with a procedure so required;
(i) for requiring a mark, warning or instruction or any other information relating to goods to be put on or to accompany the goods or to be used or provided in some other manner in relation to the goods, and for securing that inappropriate information is not given in relation to goods either by means of misleading marks or otherwise;
(j) for prohibiting persons from supplying, or from offering to supply, agreeing to supply, exposing for supply or possessing for supply, goods to which this section applies and component parts and raw materials for such goods;
(k) for requiring information to be given to any such person as may be determined by or under the regulations for the purpose of enabling that person to exercise any function conferred on him by the regulations.
(3) Without prejudice as aforesaid, safety regulations may contain provision—
(a) for requiring persons on whom functions are conferred by or under section 27 below to have regard, in exercising their functions so far as relating to any provision of safety regulations, to matters specified in a direction issued by the Secretary of State with respect to that provision;
(b) for securing that a person shall not be guilty of an offence under section 12 below unless it is shown that the goods in question do not conform to a particular standard;
(c) for securing that proceedings for such an offence are not brought in England and Wales except by or with the consent of the Secretary of State or the Director of Public Prosecutions;
(d) for securing that proceedings for such an offence are not brought in Northern Ireland except by or with the consent of the Secretary of State or the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland;
(e) for enabling a magistrates’ court in England and Wales or Northern Ireland to try an information or, in Northern Ireland, a complaint in respect of such an offence if the information was laid or the complaint made within twelve months from the time when the offence was committed;
(f) for enabling summary proceedings for such an offence to be brought in Scotland at any time within twelve months from the time when the offence was committed; and
(g) for determining the persons by whom, and the manner in which, anything required to be done by or under the regulations is to be done.
(4) Safety regulations shall not provide for any contravention of the regulations to be an offence.
(5) Where the Secretary of State proposes to make safety regulations it shall be his duty before he makes them—
(a) to consult such organisations as appear to him to be representative of interests substantially affected by the proposal;
(b) to consult such other persons as he considers appropriate; and
(c) in the case of proposed regulations relating to goods suitable for use at work, to consult [F10 the Health and Safety Executive] in relation to the application of the proposed regulations to Great Britain;
but the preceding provisions of this subsection shall not apply in the case of regulations which provide for the regulations to cease to have effect at the end of a period of not more than twelve months beginning with the day on which they come into force and which contain a statement that it appears to the Secretary of State that the need to protect the public requires that the regulations should be made without delay.
(6) The power to make safety regulations shall be exercisable by statutory instrument subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament and shall include power—
(a) to make different provision for different cases; and
(b) to make such supplemental, consequential and transitional provision as the Secretary of State considers appropriate.
(7) This section applies to any goods other than—
(a) growing crops and things comprised in land by virtue of being attached to it;
(b) water, food, feeding stuff and fertiliser;
(c) gas which is, is to be or has been supplied by a person authorised to supply it by or under [F11 section 7A of the Gas Act 1986 (licensing of gas suppliers and gas shippers) or paragraph 5 of Schedule 2A to that Act (supply to very large customers an exception to prohibition on unlicensed activities) ] [F12 or under Article 8(1) (c) of the Gas (Northern Ireland) Order 1996] ;
(d) controlled drugs and licensed medicinal products.
Subordinate Legislation Made|
P1 S. 11: power conferred by s. 11 exercised by S.I. 1991/1530
S. 11: s. 11 power exercised (28. 11. 1991) by S.I. 1991/2693.
P2 S. 11(5) power exercised by S.I. 1991/447.
P3 S. 11(5) power previously exercised by S.I. 1989/2358, 2347, 2288, 2233, 1291, 1275, 1988/1647, 1324, 1979, 1911.
F9 Words in s. 11(1) omitted (1.10.2005) by virtue of The General Product Safety Regulations 2005 (S.I. 2005/1803), reg. 46(3) (with regs. 42, 43)
F10 Words in s. 11(5)(c) substituted (1.4.2008) by The Legislative Reform (Health and Safety Executive) Order 2008 (S.I. 2008/960), art. 22, Sch. 3 (with art. 21, Sch. 2)
F11 Words in s. 11(7)(c) substituted (E.W.S.) (1.3.1996) by 1995 c. 45, s. 16(1), Sch. 4 para. 15(2); S.I. 1996/218, art. 2
F12 Words in s. 11(7)(c) inserted (N.I.) (10.6.1996) by S.I. 1996/276 (N.I. 2), art. 71(1), Sch. 6 (with Sch. 7 paras. 2, 3(2)); S.R. 1996/216, art. 2
Modifications etc. (not altering text)
C6 S. 11 applied (N.I.) (1.12.1993) by S.R. 1993/412, reg. 19(3)
C7 S. 11(3)(c)(e)(f) applied (with modifications) (E.W.S.) (28.11.2003 for certain purposes, 15.7.2004 for certain further purposes and otherwise prosp.) by Fireworks Act 2003 (c. 22), ss. 11(6), 18 (with s. 2(8)); S.I. 2003/3084, art. 2, Sch.; S.I. 2004/1831, art. 2, Sch.
C8 S. 11(3)(f): certain functions made exercisable concurrently (29.7.2004) by The Scotland Act 1998 (Transfer of Functions to the Scottish Ministers etc.) Order 2004 (S.I. 2004/2030), art. 4, Sch.
C9 S. 11(5) excluded (1.8.2002) by S.I. 2002/1770, reg. 1(2)
12 Offences against the safety regulations.
(1) Where safety regulations prohibit a person from supplying or offering or agreeing to supply any goods or from exposing or possessing any goods for supply, that person shall be guilty of an offence if he contravenes the prohibition.
(2) Where safety regulations require a person who makes or processes any goods in the course of carrying on a business—
(a) to carry out a particular test or use a particular procedure in connection with the making or processing of the goods with a view to ascertaining whether the goods satisfy any requirements of such regulations; or
(b) to deal or not to deal in a particular way with a quantity of the goods of which the whole or part does not satisfy such a test or does not satisfy standards connected with such a procedure,
that person shall be guilty of an offence if he does not comply with the requirement.
(3) If a person contravenes a provision of safety regulations which prohibits or requires the provision, by means of a mark or otherwise, of information of a particular kind in relation to goods, he shall be guilty of an offence.
(4) Where safety regulations require any person to give information to another for the purpose of enabling that other to exercise any function, that person shall be guilty of an offence if—
(a) he fails without reasonable cause to comply with the requirement; or
(b) in giving the information which is required of him—
(i) he makes any statement which he knows is false in a material particular; or
(ii) he recklessly makes any statement which is false in a material particular.
(5) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding sixmonths or to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale or to both.
Modifications etc. (not altering text)|
C10 S. 12 applied (N.I.)(1.12.1993) by S.R. 1993/412, reg. 19(3)
S. 12 applied (1.9.1993) by S.I. 1993/1746, reg. 18(3)
S. 12 applied (31.1.1995) by S.I. 1994/3247, art. 16(3)
C11 S. 12(5) excluded (29.4.2010) by The Aerosol Dispensers Regulations 2009 (S.I. 2009/2824), reg. 6(3)