Fountain Court Chambers

London & Singapore

Product liability

Fountain Court Chambers includes practitioners at all levels with a broad rand of experience of product liability litigation, ranging from classic large scale pharmaceutical and consumer product group actions to individual sale of goods disputes and complex claims in an industrial, marine or aviation context.

Fountain Court Chambers has members with scientific as well as legal backgrounds. This provides invaluable experience dealing with what are often highly complex technical or statistical issues lying behind these disputes.

This, together with the ability to explain issues simply, succinctly and effectively and to deal with difficult legal concepts, makes for Fountain Court’s success in this field.

Members are expert in dealing with issues such as the incorporation of contract terms, exclusion clauses, conflicts of laws and defect, including under the Sale of Goods Act.  They are also expert in identifying the evidence behind any alleged defective design, pleading the technical causes of defect, and then giving advice on the incorporation and applicability of contractual exclusion clauses.

Members, for example, have acted in manufacturer-supplier litigation regarding the defective manufacture of seals later leading to contamination of a substantial consignment of goods, and handling complex questions of chemical and sensory analysis.

They have, for example, tested expert evidence, in assessing the manner in which products have been developed, tested and subsequently manufactured, and then subsequently led their clients, through their use of forensic cross-examination, to settlements and judgments in appropriate cases.

Alongside straightforward advocacy, a great deal of detailed advice accompanies these claims which members are well equipped to give.

The set has been instructed in a number of product liability disputes involving aircraft, in which the values concerned, the complexity of technical evidence, and the breaches of duty involved, mean the claims are both sophisticated and potentially run to the millions.

This covers disputes which have arisen over the design characteristics of helicopters; the design of aircraft engine cooling systems; the design of a gyroplane later involved in a fatal accident; and incorporation of standard terms of a maintenance repair organisation in a dispute concerning the negligent repair of aircraft, to give some examples.

More recently, members acted in the long-running inquest (2009-2011) investigating the cause of a fatal crash of the RAF Nimrod aircraft in Afghanistan in September 2006.

Members have also been involved in some of the major product liability litigation of recent years including:  whooping-cough vaccine ligation; blood products litigation (Haemophilia/HIV/Hepatitis C); the 3rd Generation Oral Contraceptive litigation; and the MMR litigation, whilst also advising suppliers raising issues of lost profit and market share in respect of product failures.

Many claims have a strong insurance element and members are involved in claims over pharmaceutical products later resolved at confidential arbitrations in London and elsewhere, including potential jurisdictional disputes.

Quotes from directories

  • "The clerks, led by Alex Taylor, are very attentive and very approachable."

    Chambers UK 2017