If a client provides text and images to a web designer, who is responsible if infringements occur?
We state in contracts that it's the clients responsibility, but I'm just wondering from a legal view point?
In general terms, your contract with a client can only affect your legal relationship with that client; it won't usually affect either your or the client's legal relationships with any third party..
So, even if the contract places the responsibility for non-infringement on the client, you could (depending upon the circumstances) still be liable in the event of an infringement arising out of material provided by the client.
What you can do in the client contract is extract a warranty from the client that the works are non-infringing, and if the client is in breach of that warranty you may be entitled to damages from the client if you suffer loss.
Commonly, web developer contracts include an indemnity from the client in respect of such infringements. This allows the developer to claim all losses (not merely contractual damages) in the case of an infringement.
Of course, having warranties and indemnities in a contract, and enforcing them in the real world, are two different things.