Legal Aspects of Standardisation - Relationship of Standards and Law in the EU

  • Beginner 1, Course 5

Standards are technical specifications that provide rules for products, services, processes, etc. How a toy should be manufactured to be safe, the height of a chair be to feel comfortable, the process of protecting a computer system from cyber-attacks and many others. Similarly, the legislation also provides rules to be followed on a very broad range of topics, and sometimes overlapping topics. Standards and the law often have a complementary relationship: without standards, a law on product safety is too vague; without the law, standards in specific areas do not have the same outreach and success. Sometimes, the relationship between standards and the law is mere co-existence: standards may provide rules on a topic that is of no interest to the legislator e.g. hydraulic turbines, and vice versa. However, the hierarchy between the two is always clear: the rules provided for by a law supersede any conflicting rules provided for in a technical standard.

After completing this module, you should be able to:

  1. Recognize and discuss the key legal issues of standardisation;
  2. Explain the differences between law and a technical standard;
  3. Communicate to non-legal audience what voluntary standards means; and
  4. Understand the legal status of technical standards.



B C5
Beginner 1
Training Courses
Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society in The Netherlands
Irene Kamara