JTI Ireland welcomes Commercial Court ruling in plain packaging case
Commercial Court says it's unnecessary to refer Irish State's questions about lawfulness of plain packaging to EU Court of Justice as it is already examining a similar English referral
7 July 2015
The Commercial Court today refused an application by the State to have various questions it has on the lawfulness of its own plain packaging legislation referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).
The judge said such a measure would be “unnecessary, premature and wasteful of costs”.
Tobacco manufacturer JTI Ireland has welcomed the ruling. General Manager Igor Dzaja said: “From the outset, we said that it was unnecessary to refer these questions because the CJEU is already looking at a similar referral from the UK courts.
“The outcome of this UK case will be absolutely critical to the right of any EU member state to introduce plain packaging, which is why we asked the government to wait for a decision before enacting the legislation. An Irish referral would also have had the potential to delay the European Court’s decision, which is something we want to avoid. Strict new EU tobacco regulations are scheduled to come in to force across all member states in May 2016, so we are keen to see this issue resolved as quickly as possible,” Dzaja added.
Previously, in November 2014, the High Court of England and Wales referred questions to the Court of Justice of the European Union, including the lawfulness of Article 24(2) of the revised EU Tobacco Products Directive. This will permit EU member states to introduce plain packaging in certain circumstances, subject to compliance with strict conditions. However JTI Ireland believes Article 24(2) is unlawful as it undermines the EU’s objective of harmonising rules across the member states.