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Procedure: First instance County Court decision suggests that low value product liability claims fall within the EL/PL protocol - Paul Erdunast, Temple Garden Chambers

14/05/21. X (a Minor) -v- MPL Home & Senza Group Ltd, 17 March 2021, as reported on Civil Litigation Brief – The RTA and EL/PL protocols provide fixed costs regimes as well as specific procedures that apply to claims within their ambit (the main feature of such claims being that they are valued at no more than £25,000). The Claimant in this case argued that product liability claims fall outside the EL/PL Protocol. DJ Vernon sitting at Cardiff disagreed.

Facts

The essential facts of this case were that the young Claimant sought compensation for injuries sustained when a defective hairdryer set off a spark that burned her wrist. Settlement was approved, but there was a question as to costs: did the case fall within the public liability protocol such that the costs were fixed?

The Claimant’s arguments that product liability claims fall outside the EL/PL protocol

The definition of ‘public liability claim’ is found at 1.1(18) of the EL/PL protocol:

“(18) ‘public liability claim’-
(a) means a claim for damages for personal injuries arising out of a breach of a statutory or common law duty of care made against—
(i) a person other than the claimant’s employer; or
(ii) the claimant’s employer in respect of matters arising other than in the course the claimant’s employment; but
(b) does not include a claim for damages arising from a disease that the claimant is alleged to have contracted as a consequence of breach of statutory or common law duties of care, other than a physical or psychological injury caused by an accident or other single event;”

The Claimant made four arguments to demonstrate the product liability claims in general, and therefore this specific claim, fall outside the EL/PL protocol...

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