This was a decision of the Court of Appeal from a decision given by the Court of Magistrates [the court of first instance].
Plaintiff company decided to appeal from the decision of the first court contending that that court made a mistaken appreciation of the facts of the case and that it was not correct in stating that the burden of proof to demonstrate that it was not responsible for the damages suffered was incumbent upon it.
The Court of Appeal noted that objectively once defendants had purchased a new product, it was expected that this would be adequately functional and one should not expect that when it malfunctions one should have to repair it. If anything the Court noted that the buyer logically was entitled to assume that the product once new was not serving its purpose. The Court further noted that from the expert’s report it was clear that the cooker hood was not functioning properly from the very beginning. The Court said that on the basis of the evidence submitted including the expert’s report, it was clear that malfunction of the product caused the damages suffered by defendants.
The Court then proceeded to consider the contention of plaintiff company, that the burden of proof should not be onerous on it. The Court of Appeal however did not agree with this submission noting that once defendants demonstrated that malfunction of the cooker hood this brought an inversion of the burden of proof in that it was up to plaintiff company to show that it was not at fault. The Court further noted that plaintiff company cannot claim that it was not aware of the malfunction as it had previously agreed to take the cooker hood for repairs prior to the incident which caused the damage to defendants. The Court decided to confirm the decision of the first court.