On 15 August 2012, the High Court ruled in favour of the Government’s Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011 (Cth), dismissing a constitutional challenge from the tobacco companies. British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco, Philip Morris and Japan Tobacco argued that the new legislation was contrary to s 51(xxxi) of the Constitution, which empowers the Government to legislate with respect to “the acquisition of property on just terms”. The tobacco companies claimed that the plain packaging measure would effectively extinguish their intellectual property rights without compensation. The Commonwealth argued it had the right to regulate in respect of products associated with health issues. Chief Justice Robert French announced that the majority of Justices found the measures were not in contravention of s 51 of the Constitution. The reasons for the judgment will be released later in the year. From 1 December 2012, all tobacco products sold in Australia must be in drab olive plain packaging, dominated with large graphic health warnings. Brand names will appear in small letters using generic font.
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High Court rules on tobacco plain packaging laws
- Baker & McKenzie
- September 4 2012
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