Global Product Liability


Product liability exposure in New Zealand takes somewhat different pathways than other jurisdictions due to the New Zealand accident compensation system which – subject to some very limited specific exceptions – precludes claims for personal injury or death. Product liability may result from physical property damage or economic loss leading to civil damages claims, or from regulatory prosecutions.

DLA Piper New Zealand has an effective, deeply experienced product liability litigation and advisory practice. Our global platform enables us to draw on the experience of DLA Piper product liability lawyers in many other offices around the world. Our New Zealand product liability lawyers have in-depth experience representing clients in the following core areas:

and medical devices

DLA Piper New Zealand has represented a number of leading manufacturers of pharmaceutical and biological products. We have particularly advised on incidents (including fatal incidents) resulting from clinical trials, and pharmaceutical advertising. We have experience reviewing and auditing compliance with regulatory requirements governing promotional activities for pharmaceuticals. We have also been involved in significant disputes with the central government purchasing agency for pharmaceuticals, PHARMAC, on behalf of our manufacturer clients.

and toxic torts

We have acted in relation to issues around agricultural chemicals claimed to have damaged crops and/or to have failed in their specified purpose, and seeds alleged to be defective. 

We have significant litigation experience relating to chemical and environmental exposure. We have defended a wide range of companies in toxic tort matters, including chemical and environmental exposure relating to contaminated land, and unauthorised discharges to waterways and air.

DLA Piper led a successful defence in the only major New Zealand litigation on tobacco company liability to smokers for alleged smoking-contracted illness.

Food and

DLA Piper has acted for New Zealand's largest supermarket operator in relation to food labelling, advertising, and food safety requirements. We act for a number of primary food industry producer clients, among them manufacturers of infant formula.


We have acted to advise a leading manufacturer of domestic and industrial cleaning equipment in relation to defective product claims. We also act for a battery manufacturer regarding claims of defective charging systems.


Over the last 20 years, we have acted extensively for insurers and building professionals (architects, engineers, designers, certifiers and inspectors) as well as local authorities and manufacturers in relation to "leaky building" litigation. Many thousands of claims have arisen in New Zealand due to allegations of inadequate design, defective manufacture, defective installation and negligent inspection of "monolithic cladding" and other building products. We have acted for Nuplex, an ASX/NZX listed company , in relation to significant claims about its monolithic cladding products

We have acted in relation to significant issues relating to alleged defects in marine grade aluminium ships' hull plating.


We offer full-service business legal support on product liability compliance and defence through our team of dispute resolution and regulatory lawyers. Examples include advising on compliance with electrical safety regulations, machinery safety regulations, and petroleum industry plant safety requirements. We formulate compliance solutions that can satisfy the most demanding requirements and cover the widest range of risks, while still promoting consistency across all business activities.

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