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Product liability bulletin - April 2021

Published on 26 April 2021

Welcome to the latest edition of our product liability bulletin, looking at key news articles and cases affecting the industry. In this edition we look at: OPSS guidance following Brexit, Group Action against Vauxhall, new button battery safety campaign & much more. We hope you enjoy this edition. Below are snippets of each article we cover, to view the full articles please download the pdf below.

OPSS guidance and call for evidence following Brexit

Following the UK’s exit from the European Union in January 2020 and the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) has sought to clarify the resultant changes by way of publication (‘the Guidance’) found here. The Guidance sets out the current law for the market of Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales). Separate guidance is available for Northern Ireland.

Group action against Vauxhall for cheating emissions tests

Following accusations of cheating emissions tests and recalls of vehicles in or around 2016, Vauxhall finds itself in the news again.

Campaign group Vauxhall Pay Up, which was launched on 18 January 2021, claims that Vauxhall installed software which enabled the cheating of emissions tests in 600,000 of their vehicles. It is understood that this applies to Vauxhall vehicles purchased or leased between 2009 and 2019.

OPSS launches new Button Battery Safety Campaign

There has been growing coverage of concerns over the safety of batteries and the accidental ingestion thereof. Research in the US suggests that more than 3,500 incidents of accidental button battery ingestion are reported to US poison control centres each year and similarly the Queensland Injury Surveillance Unit in Australia also estimates that four children a week are admitted to hospital after swallowing batteries.

Hastings v Finsbury Orthopaedics Ltd and Stryker UK Ltd: first instance decision upheld on appeal (Scotland)

On 26 January 2021, the Inner House of the Court of Session in Scotland (the House) handed down its decision in the appeal of Hastings v Finsbury Orthopaedics Ltd and Stryker UK Ltd. The House has upheld the first instance decision in favour of the defendant manufacturers.

We analysed the first instance decision in the February 2020 edition of our bulletin (found here). The Pursuer (the Claimant, in Scotland) alleged that the metal-on-metal total hip replacements he had been implanted with were defective.