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Criminal liability for products


The criminal liability for products has gained importance enormously in practice in recent years. In regular cases in this field of law a product manufactured by a company and placed on the market subsequently proves to be harmful or dangerous. The executives of the company can be prosecuted for intentional or negligent bodily harm in accordance with Section 223 of the German Criminal Code (StGB) or Section 229 StGB, and under very unfortunate circumstances also for negligent homicide. Whether by active action or by omission, e.g. because a product affected by errors was not withdrawn from the market in good time. Of great importance are also the regulations of the Food, Supplies and Feed Code (Lebensmittel-, Bedarfsgegenstände- und Futtermittelgesetzbuchs/LFGB), threatening severe fines and penalty payments as well as up to five-year-long custodial sentences.


Of particular interest in many proceedings is the question whether the products used were actually the cause of the alleged health complaints. The clarification of the therewith related causality issues requires a comprehensive examination of the fields of toxicology and medicine in individual cases. In addition, in criminal liability for products proceedings, particular problems may arise in the distinction of responsibilities within the company itself. The same applies to proceedings in which, for example, the distribution of consumer goods is challenged by the public prosecutors under special provisions of secondary criminal law.


Cases of criminal liability for products require the earliest consulting of a qualified and specialized criminal defense lawyer possible in order to safeguard the interests of the company and its employees. Juergen Klengel has been advising and defending many major car manufacturers and suppliers to the automotive industry, industrial groups, food manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies at all stages of the proceedings successfully for years.

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