Australia - Tobacco Plain Packaging Final Ruling
Appellate Body Report, Australia — Certain Measures Concerning Trademarks and Other Plain Packaging Requirements Applicable to Tobacco Products and Packaging, WTO Doc. WT/DS435/AB/R and WT/DS441/AB/R (adopted June 9, 2020).
- Jun 9, 2020
- Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO)
- Dominican Republic
Type of Litigation
Challenge to Government Policies Relating to Tobacco Control/Public Health
Tobacco companies or front groups may challenge any legislative or regulatory measure that affects their business interests. Unlike public interest litigation, these cases seek to weaken health measures. These cases frequently involve the industry proceeding against the government. For example, a group of restaurant owners challenging a smoke free law as unconstitutional.
Tobacco Control Topics
Packaging and Labeling Measures
Measures to regulate the marketing on tobacco packages. This includes both bans on false, misleading, deceptive packaging, as well as required health warnings on packaging. (See FCTC Art. 11)
Right to Freedom of Expression
A violation of the right to expression, free speech or similar right to express oneself without limitation or censorship. The industry may claim that a regulation infringes on their right to communicate with customers and the public. Similarly, they may claim that mandated warnings infringe on their freedom to communicate as they desire.
Type of Tobacco Product
The Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO) issued its final ruling affirming that Australia’s pioneering law requiring plain packaging for tobacco products and finding it entirely consistent with WTO agreements. In particular, the WTO appeal ruling confirmed the original finding that the evidence shows that tobacco plain packaging laws "are apt to, and do in fact, contribute to Australia's objective of reducing the use of, and exposure to, tobacco products."
The appeal ruling also confirmed that: