BAT v. UK Department of Health

The judgment dismissed all grounds of challenge against the UK's standardised (or "plain") packaging regulations. The judgment has significant wider implications because Mr Justice Green carefully considered all the evidence as part of the proportionality analysis, which will be similar to the justification analysis for plain packaging in most other jurisdictions. He was highly critical of the evidence put forward by the tobacco industry and provided a damning critique of individual studies and experts as well as making wider criticisms of the tobacco companies including that they failed to disclose any internal documents about their research or consideration of the impact of plain packaging on their business or smoking rates. He also linked his conclusions to the 2006 judgment of Judge Kessler in USA v Philip Morris Inc et al when she found, upon the basis of comprehensive evidence which included internal documents, that the tobacco companies were well aware of the strong causal nexus between advertising and consumer reaction.

The judge's conclusions on whether plain packaging amounts to an expropriation of the tobacco trade marks; on their claim for compensation; on the relevance of the FCTC and its guidelines; and on the compatibility with the WTO TRIPS agreement all have wider international relevance.

A summary of the key findings that have wider application is in the additional documents.

The McCabe Centre has produced an analysis of the key points for other jurisdictions which can be found here:


British American Tobacco (UK) Limited and Ors v Secretary of State for Health [2016] EWHC 1169

  • United Kingdom
  • May 19, 2016
  • High Court of Justice



  • British American Tobacco (UK) Limited
  • Philip Morris Brands Sarl
  • Japan Tobacco International SA
  • Imperial Tobacco Limited


Third Party

  • Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) UK

Legislation Cited

Children and Families Act 2014

Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations 2015

International/Regional Instruments Cited

Related Documents

Type of Litigation

Tobacco Control Topics

Substantive Issues

Type of Tobacco Product