|Author (Corporate)||Cardiff EDC|
|Content Type||Blog & Commentary, News, Overview|
Information Guide on Case C-333/14 from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), concerning the minimum pricing of alcoholic drinks and the protection of human life and health.
Scotland's Parliament passed legislation in 2012 relating to the minimum price of alcoholic drinks in the territory. That legislation provides for the imposition of a minimum price per unit of alcohol (MPU) which must be observed by any person holding a licence for the retail selling of alcoholic drinks in Scotland. The minimum price is calculated by the application of a formula that takes into account the strength and volume of alcohol in the product. The objective of the Scottish legislation is to protect human life and health. In the opinion of the Scottish legislature, that objective could not be achieved with the same degree of success by means of tax measures.
The Scotch Whisky Association and a number of other undertakings in the alcoholic drinks sector brought proceedings against that legislation. They claim that the Scottish legislation constitutes a quantitative restriction on trade that is incompatible with EU law, and that its effect is to distort competition among distributors of alcohol. Further, they maintain that tax measures could less restrictively achieve the objectives pursued by the legislation.
In that context, Scotland's Inner House of the Court of Session requested in September 2014 from the CJEU a clarification on whether the introduction of a minimum price is compatible with EU law. The judgment on 23 December 2015 states that Scottish legislation introducing a minimum price per unit of alcohol is contrary to EU law if less restrictive tax measures can be introduced. The CJEU argues that a tax measure might provide additional benefits and a broader response to the objective of combating alcohol misuse.
|Subject Categories||Business and Industry, Health, Law|
|Subject Tags||EU Law, Food | Drinks, Public Health|
|Keywords||Alcoholism, CJEU Judgments
|Countries / Regions||United Kingdom|
|International Organisations||European Union [EU]|