IECL Annual Lecture: Real Challenges for a New Regime of Product Liability in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Event date
5 May 2022
Event time
17:00 - 18:15
Oxford week
TT 2
Faculty Members
Members of the University
Amersi Foundation Lecture Room Brasenose College
Professor Pascal Pichonnaz

The inaugural IECL Annual Lecture will be given by Professor Pascal Pichonnaz (University of Fribourg and President of the European Law Institute).

At the end of 2021, the EU Commission launched a public consultation tackling the issue whether and how to improve the Product Liability Directive (PLD) and to determine how to address issues related to damage caused by Artificial Intelligence.

The European Law Institute (ELI) has filed a response to this consultation. It has now also embarked on preparing an adapted PLD to concretize some of the issues raised. Products often include digital elements, an issue which was not considered when the PLD was adopted in 1985. Does it mean that the PLD regime should be extended to products with digital elements? If this path were followed, how should such products be defined? Would, for instance, updates to the digital components be treated differently? How should one assess a causal link when one main feature of some digital component is interoperability, and where there is therefore a risk that the origin of a defective product lies in bad data provided by others? Do the specificities of AI justify a modification of the burden of proof, and if so, in what situations? Moreover, would an extension of the PLD to digital content leave some room for a specific set of rules creating an AI liability?

The presentation will address some of these challenging questions and present reflections as to possible solutions.

Professor Pascal Pichonnaz
Pascal Pichonnaz is currently professor (since 2000) for Swiss contract law, Roman law, as well as European consumer law and comparative contract law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Fribourg. Pichonnaz was Dean of the Faculty of Law from 2014–2017 and published several books on various aspects of contract law (Swiss and comparative law), Roman law, as well as unfair competition and family law. Pichonnaz is also a member of several boards of legal periodicals, including the top-ranked Review of Swiss Law and many first-ranked Journal of Roman law in Europe. He is a standing member of the international Jury for Roman Law (Premio internazionale di diritto romano Gérard Boulvert). He is active as an international commercial arbitrator (ICC, Swiss Rules-SCAI, ad hoc), having acted as Chair, Sole Arbitrator and coarbitrator in many arbitrations. He has been member of the board and then president in 2008–2009 of the European Law Faculties Association (ELFA). He is also currently Chair of the Swiss Federal Commission for Consumers. Since September 2021, he is the President of the European Law Institute.

The lecture will be held in the Amersi Foundation Lecture Room, Brasenose College and will be followed by a drinks reception.

If you would like to attend the IECL Annual Lecture please complete the registration form below using your SSO credentials. Registration will close on 3 May 2022 and places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Registration form


Found within

Comparative Law