Cour de cassation:
In view of Article 1 of the Hague Convention of 2 October 1973 on the law to be applied in cases of liability for defective products;
Given that this text provides that the treaty applies only to liability in tort ;
Given that the court below held that the treaty mentioned conclusively determines the applicable law whenever the liability of the producer has a foreign element, as in the present case, where a French company, Sedmeo, having been held liable to a French consumer to whom it had sold a defective product sought an indemnity from Alke Gas Infrarood, a Dutch company, which had manufactured it;
Given that since the respective obligations of manufacturer and buyer are of a contractual nature, the court in so holding misapplied the treaty text mentioned above;
For these reasons…
QUASHES the decision of the Court of Appeal of Rennes in so far as it held Alke Gas Infrarood liable, and remands the case … to the Court of Appeal of Angers.
This note on subsequent developments reflects the legal situation as of October 2004.
Civ 1, 16 December 1997 :The Hague Convention on the law applicable to product liability only applies when the case is in its nature extra-contractual. This case law seems to have been abandoned since a judgment of the 7 March 2000 (Civ 1, Bull no 77) under the terms of which "Article 1 of the Hague Convention of the 2 October 1973, which determines the law applicable to the liability of manufacturers for harm caused by a product makes no distinction according to the nature of the liability incurred".
Translation by Raymond Youngs
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