Permission to appeal

Permission to appeal decision

12 April 2017

The Supreme Court has announced its decision on the following permission to appeal application. This decision was made by a panel of three Supreme Court Justices following a review of the relevant written submissions.

R (British American Tobacco UK Ltd and others) (Appellants) v Secretary of State for Health (Respondent)

R (on the application of JT International SA and another) (Appellants) v Secretary of State for Health (Respondent)

On appeal from the Court of Appeal Civil Division (England and Wales)

Permission for British American Tobacco was refused in a case relating to whether the Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations 2015 are incompatible with EU law, the European Convention on Human Rights or the common law.

The appellants are tobacco companies. They sought judicial review of The Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations 2015 which substantially limit the ability of tobacco companies to place branding on the outer packaging or the tobacco products themselves. The Regulations in part implement Directive 2014/40/EU which required Member States to with a variety of obligations in respect of the labelling and packaging of tobacco products. In requiring the introduction of standardised tobacco packaging, the Regulations go further than the Directive in the restrictions they impose. It is those additional restrictions which were the subject of this appeal.

The Supreme Court has declined to hear the appeal and the Court of Appeal judgment will therefore stand:

The substantive text of the Supreme Court's Order reads:

"The Court ordered that permission to appeal BE REFUSED because the application does not raise a point of law of general public importance which ought to be considered at this time bearing in mind that the case has already been the subject of judicial decision and reviewed on appeal. In relation to the point of European Law said to be raised by or in response to the application it is not necessary to request the Court of Justice to give any ruling because the points of EU law said to arise have been thoroughly considered by the court below, which reached conclusions that the Appeal Panel sees no reason to question. The Panel considers it clear, in particular, that there was legislative competence and competence under the ECJ's case law to introduce the relevant provisions, as regards both national and Community trademarks, and that the courts below correctly identified the legal principles relevant to the determination of the applicant's case, including the issues whether the trademarks gave them positive exploitation rights, whether the relevant preventive provisions deprived the applicants of the use of their trademarks or of their substance and essence and/or whether the provisions were (irrespective of whether or not the precautionary principle applied) proportionate, properly balanced, appropriately restrictive and justified as a measure for the protection of public health".