The British product liability regime and its suitability as a model for the Republic of Cameroon
This study examines the circumstances that led to the call for legal reform in the law of product liability in Britain, and their relevance to the reform of Cameroonian law for victims of defective products. It analyses the current position under the British Consumer Protection Act 1987. To this end, the study endeavours to appraise the effectiveness of the regime as enacted in the 1987 Act, in addressing the shortcomings in the status qua ante, and to what extent the regime could be a model for Cameroon. Reform of the privity rule in contrast is also considered as a possible medium of facilitating redress for Cameroonian consumers. The thesis considers key contemporary socio-economic and legal factors and their implications for Cameroonian consumers, and argues that the existing system of fault-based liability, is neither justifiable nor sustainable. It is argued further, that the operation of legal dualism within Cameroon (i.e. French-received law in the francophone Provinces and English common law in the anglophone Provinces), creates the potential for an even deeper disparity in the compensation laws in the two different parts of the country. If that happens, it would have serious adverse consequences for consumers and business alike, and thwart the goal of legal unification. Proposals are made accordingly for the adoption of a regime of strict liability for the entire country. The thesis is divided into six chapters. Chapter one is a background to the legal history of, and a brief conspectus of product liability law in Cameroon. Chapter two is divided into two main parts; the first deals with the common law position under the law of negligence, while the second deals with the tort of breach of statutory duty.