Chadwick v Continental Tyre Group – Case Summary

Chadwick v Continental Tyre Group Ltd

Court of Session (Scotland)

Citations: [2008] CSOH 24.


The defendant was a tyre supplier. The claimant was a consumer who sued the defendant under the Consumer Protection Act 1987. The rear tyres of a car had failed while he was a passenger in the vehicle. The failure had caused the tires to become rigid, at which point the treads of the wheels had detached from the car.

The defendant claimed the tyres were not defective: the cause of the accident was an unauthorised third-party conversion job which had overloaded the back tyres (which were also under-inflated). The claimant responded that the conversion was a normal or foreseeable use of the tyres, and so a consumer was entitled to expect that the tyres would be safe for such use. As such, the tyres were still defective. Alternatively, the claimant argued that there was a manufacturing defect in the tyre which had caused the accident. The defendant challenged the relevancy of the action.

  1. Should the claimant be permitted to pursue both lines of argument at trial?

The Court held in favour of the claimant, holding that he was entitled to adduce evidence of a manufacturing defect at trial. However, they did not think the claim that the tyre was defective because it was misused could succeed.

This Case is Authority For…

The fact that the product is unsafe when put to a reasonably foreseeable use is relevant to whether it is defective. However, the safety of the product when misused is not normally relevant, even if misuse is foreseeable. The public generally have no legitimate expectation that a product with withstand unspecified misuse for an unspecified period.