Fate of the Hague Convention on Products Liability and Its Implication for the African Continent

Fate of the Hague Convention on Products Liability and Its Implication for the African Continent

Author by Mr. Babatunde Adeyemi

Language: English

Abstract

From the limitations and inadequacies found in the common law theories and in fact the civil law version, the search for an international law in the nature of a convention took the stage in the early 70s. Facilitated by the Hague Conference, the convention on the law applicable to products liability was concluded in 1973. It should be instructive to note that the convention did not find a lot of adherents in spite of the quantum of efforts that went into its preparation and conclusion. Only ten member states ratified it, while another three merely signed it. Professor WLM Reese served as the Rapporteur for the various committees that worked on the instrument. Neither the United States, nor the United Kingdom signed, or ratified the convention. Even Germany, China, Russia, etc., did not, till date sign it. This paper examined the background to the Convention, the explanatory text produced by the Rapporteur to the Special Commission charged with its production and the body of the instrument itself, and came to the conclusion, that had the convention been ratified by the super powers like the USA, United Kingdom, China, and Russia, other emerging industrial nations would have also appended their signatures to the document. It is quite worrisome that Nigeria is neither listed as a Member, nor as a non-Member of the Hague Conference. The country, and many other developing countries in Africa, except South Africa nominally, seem to be blissfully unaware of the trend in this area of the law, which if enacted and meaningfully implemented, would have at the least, cut down on the sorry profile of the continent, as a dumping ground, for the world’s rejected products and its consequences.


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