Intended for healthcare professionals


Courts can decide that vaccine has caused harm despite lack of evidence

BMJ 2017; 357 doi: (Published 26 June 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;357:j3081
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. The BMJ

European Union law will allow the national courts of member states to decide that a vaccine has caused harm even though there is no medical evidence to back up the finding, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled.

The ruling was criticised by British scientists but welcomed by a leading UK vaccine claimant lawyer as “common sense.”

The European Court in Luxembourg is the authority on EU law and makes preliminary rulings at the request of national courts when asked how it should be applied nationally. The latest ruling is related to a 1985 directive on liability for defective products to which member states were obliged to give effect in their national laws, allowing consumers to claim compensation if they can prove a …

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