UK/EUROPE: Minimum unit pricing appeal heads to European court
The appeal over MUP will be now be heard at the ECJ
Trade bodies have welcomed a decision by a Scottish court to refer a legal challenge on minimum unit pricing (MUP) to Europe's highest court.
The Court of Session in Edinburgh ruled earlier today (30 April) that the appeal from alcohol industry bodies over the Scottish Government’s plan for a GBP0.50 (US$0.80) per unit floor price should be heard at the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The appeal came after the Court of Session found in favour of the controversial measure last May.
A legal challenge against the measure, which has received Royal Assent but not been enacted, was first launched by the industry in July 2012.
David Frost, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, which led the appeal, said the group was “pleased” the decision is being referred. “From the outset we said that we believed MUP was contrary to European Union law and that it was likely in the end to go to the European Court,” he said.
Trade body SpiritsEurope, which was also involved in the appeal, also welcomed the decision. “We have called for MUP to be referred to the ECJ from the outset, believing that the question of its legality would always have to be decided there,” said Paul Skehan, the group’s director general.
He added: “Whatever about the legality of MUP, we have always contested the likely efficacy of the measure.”
Last year, the UK coalition government in Westminster shelved its plans for mimimum pricing, citing a lack of evidence that the policy would work.
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