Challenge to minimum alcohol pricing fails
6 May 2013
The Scotch Whisky Association has failed in its challenge to the introduction of minimum alcohol pricing by the Scottish Parliament.
The Scotch Whisky Association raised a petition for judicial review challenging the legality of the Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Act 2012 (the “Act”) and a proposed order setting the minimum price for alcohol at 50 pence per unit of alcohol. The main grounds of challenge advanced were: (1) that the Act and the decision to set the minimum price at 50 pence per unit was in breach of the Acts of Union; and (2) that the Act was outside the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament and was not law because it is incompatible with EU law.
There were three strands to the Scotch Whisky Associations’ argument that the Act was incompatible with EU law: (1) minimum pricing contravened Article 34 TFEU and could not be, or was not, justified under Article 36; (2), it was incompatible with the common organisation of the market relating to wine and certain other alcohol products; and (3) it would be in breach of Article 6(2) of Regulation (EC) 110/2008 relating to spirits.
In an opinion issued today, Lord Doherty rejected all of these challenges to the Act and the order.
A number of members of Axiom Advocates were involved in the case. Gerry Moynihan QC and Alastair Duncan QC appeared for the Scottish Ministers. John MacGregor appeared as junior counsel for the Advocate General. Morag Ross appeared as junior counsel for the Scotch Whisky Association. Anna Poole QC acted for Alcohol Focus Scotland, who were granted leave to intervene in the action in writing.
[ Back to news page ]