Imperial Tobacco Ltd v The Lord Advocate: SC 12 Dec 2012

The claimant company said that the 2010 Act was outside the competence of the Scottish Parliament insofar as it severely restricted the capacity of those selling cigarettes to display them for sale. They suggested two faults. First, that the subject matters were reserved to the UK Parliament under the 1998 Act. Second that the Act purported to alter secondary Regulations made by the UK Parliament which again contained matters reserved to that Parliament.
Held: The company’s appeal failed. The Act provided only for matters within the competence of the Scottish Parliament.
Each such provision must be judged independently. The 1998 Act is to be interpreted according to the standards applicable to any other Act of the UK parliament. The fact that the 1998 Act described itself as being constitutional did not of itself import any special rules of construction.
The aim of sections 1 and 9 was to discourage or eliminate sales of tobacco products, and not to protect the consumer from unfair trade practices. Nor did the sections do anything to amend the Regulations.
Lord Hope said that the matters listed have a common theme: ‘It is that matters in which the United Kingdom as a whole has an interest should continue to be the responsibility of the UK Parliament at Westminster. They include matters which are affected by its treaty obligations and matters that are designed to ensure that there is a single market within the United Kingdom for the free movement of goods and services.’
Lord Hope, Deputy President, Lord Walker, Lady Hale, Lord Kerr, Lord Sumption
[2012] UKSC 61, UKSC 2012/0066, 2013 SCLR 121, 2013 GWD 1-8, 2013 SLT 2
Bailii, Bailii Summary, SC, SC Summary
Scotland Act 1998 29(1), Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Act 2010 1(1) 9, Regulations (the Tobacco for Oral Use (Safety) Regulations 1992
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These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 08 January 2021; Ref: scu.467053