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Design liability: an EU comparison

Lupton, Sarah 2013. Design liability: an EU comparison. International Construction Law Review 30 (4) , pp. 395-416.

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Around 20% of UK architects are involved in work overseas, a statistic indicative of the growing internationalisation of the work of contractors, architects, and engineers. The single European market encourages cross-border supply of services, however, despite harmonisation efforts, there are still significant differences in law and practice across member countries. This paper was developed as part of on-going research on design liability. Although initially focused on English law, it was thought that it would be useful to contrast the position in other jurisdictions. Ten were selected, five in the EU and five outside. This paper presents the results of the analysis for the five EU countries; Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and The Netherlands. It aims to compare the liability position of consultants and contractors in relation to design activity in those countries. Some comparisons with the UK are also included. The method used was, first, a desk-based study, following which drafts of the initial findings were sent, together with queries, to experts in each country, and their helpful comments were integrated into the individual country profiles, and then comparatively analysed. In particular there was a focus on the precise nature of the design liability, i.e., whether it was negligence-based or strict, potential defences, whether causation must be proved, and which party bore the burden of proof. The discussion begins with general observations, followed by an analysis of each country. The key findings are summarised in a table at the end of the paper, including a classification of the level of liability for each country. GENERAL COMMENTS All the countries considered have codified legal systems (unlike the UK), which include general provisions on contract and tort. All have special provisions for construction contracts that deal with post-completion defects. This is different to the UK, where claims for design errors and/or defects

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Architecture
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
ISSN: 0265-1416
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 08:16

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