Caceres Corrales v. Colombia
Caceres Corrales v. Colombia, Judgment C-830/10, Corte Constitucional de Colombia [Constitutional Court] (2010).
- Oct 20, 2010
- Constitutional Court (Corte Constitucional de Colombia)
Plaintiff Pablo J. Caceres Corrales
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
Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship
Measures restricting any form of direct or indirect tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. (See FCTC Art. 13)
Right to Commerce
A violation of the right to carry on trade, business, or profession of a person’s choice. This right may also be called the right to free enterprise or economic freedom. The industry may argue that a business should be able to conduct its business without government regulation, including whether or not to be smoke free.
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.
Right to Work
A violation of the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
Type of Tobacco Product
Plaintiff Corrales challenged the constitutionality of legislative measures banning the advertisement and promotion of tobacco products, arguing that the measures violate the freedoms of economy and enterprise. The court emphasized the hazardous nature of tobacco, the necessity to protect the rights to life and health, and Colombia's obligations under the FCTC. Concluding that the rights of economy and enterprise are not absolute, the court held that the imposed restrictions are compatible with the freedom of enterprise and free private initiative and therefore not unconstitutional. Notable is the Court’s explicit use of the FCTC and the FCTC Article 13 Guidelines to interpret ambiguities in the national law. The Court also used the Guidelines to interpret the norms of the treaty and the obligations on the Parties pursuant to those norms. In addition, it is worth noting that according to the Court, commercial speech can be restricted in a higher degree than other speech because it is more closely linked to freedom of enterprise than to freedom of expression.