Thousands of victims of defective breast implants made in France should receive compensation, a French court has ruled.
A Paris appeals court ruled that the German firm TÜV Rheinland was negligent in awarding safety certificates for breast implants made by the French company Poly Implant Prothese (PIP).
Thursday's ruling was announced by the France-based association PIPA, which represents victims, after a decade of legal proceedings.
The scandal first emerged in 2010 after doctors noticed abnormally high rupture rates in women with implants produced by PIP.
The implants, it was discovered, were filled with cheap, industrial-grade silicone which was not suitable for use in humans.
Olivier Aumaitre, the lawyer representing the 2,700 women who brought the case, described the ruling as "historic".
"It's clearly a historical day for PIP breast implant victims all over the world and for women's rights," Aumaitre said during a news conference.
PIPA said that the amount of compensation is still to be determined, while the appeals court's decision court may still be challenged.
PIP was liquidated in 2010, and its founder Jean-Claude Mas was later given a four-year prison sentence before he died in 2019.
TUV defence lawyer Cecile Derycke had suggested TÜV Rheinland was being targeted as a scapegoat because it is solvent.
"TUV Rheinland denies all responsibility," lawyer Christelle Coslin told the Associated Press, "the missing link here is the actual liable party."