Imperial Tobacco v Scottish Ministers
30 August 2010
In Imperial Tobacco v Scottish Ministers  CSOH 134, Imperial Tobacco sought to challenge parts of an Act of the Scottish Parliament. The Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Act 2010 provides, among other things, that displays of cigarettes in shops should be banned, as should sales of cigarettes from vending machines (Sections 1 and 9). These provisions were introduced as part of a government plan to improve public health by decreasing smoking. Research showed that the majority of smokers started in their teens, so Sections 1 and 9 aim to reduce the attractiveness and availability of tobacco to children and young persons.
Imperial Tobacco argued that Sections 1 and 9 were outwith legislative competence. There were various grounds of challenge, but broadly speaking they related to the split between devolved and reserved powers. There was also an argument based on the Acts of Union. Lord Bracadale rejected Imperial Tobacco's arguments and found Sections 1 and 9 to be within competence.
Similar bans on displays and sales of tobacco through vending machines have been passed in the rest of the UK. They, as well as parts of the 2010 Act, are the subject of further challenges based on arguments that they violate Convention and Community law rights.
James Mure QC and Anna Poole of Axiom Advocates acted for the Scottish Ministers.
[ Back to news page ]