|By PR Newswire||
|August 19, 2014 07:01 PM EDT||
BLACKBURN, England, August 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
Totally Wicked, the UK's leading electronic cigarette manufacturer has launched a legal challenge to the EU's Tobacco Products Directive on the grounds that Article 20 of the Directive breaches EU law.
Specifically, that Article 20 represents a disproportionate impediment to the free movement of goods and the free provision of services, places electronic cigarettes at an unjustified competitive disadvantage to tobacco products, fails to comply with the general EU principle of equality, and breaches the fundamental rights of electronic cigarette manufacturers.
Totally Wicked has obtained permission from the UK's Administrative Court to bring a judicial review action challenging the above, following an Order made by Mr Justice Supperstone on the 31st of July 2014. Permission was obtained after issuing court proceedings against the Secretary of State for Health, which asked the UK court to refer the lawfulness of Article 20 for a "preliminary ruling" by the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) in Luxembourg.
Significantly, having considered Totally Wicked's claim and supporting evidence, the Secretary of State for Health has accepted that it would be appropriate for the issues raised by Totally Wicked to be referred to the CJEU for a ruling. Whilst maintaining that Article 20 is lawful, the Secretary of State has not objected to Totally Wicked pursuing a claim and has consented to a reference to CJEU being made.
A hearing will now take place in London on the 6th of October 2014, where an Administrative Court judge will determine whether a reference should be made and if so, the terms of the questions being referred.
If the matter is referred to CJEU, it is expected a hearing to take place in 2015 to determine whether Article 20 breaches EU law.
Fraser Cropper, Managing Director of Totally Wicked, said:
"Many of the regulations contained within Article 20 of the Tobacco Products Directive would result is electronic cigarettes being subjected to a stricter regulatory regime than some tobacco products. Not only is Article 20 therefore disproportionate, we believe it is also contrary to EU law. It is for these reasons that we have taken the significant step to challenge the Directive in the courts and we are delighted with the progress made to date.
"For the sake of electronic cigarette users and potential users, it is vital that our industry is allowed to mature within a proportionate regulatory framework, which supports appropriate controls and safety requirements, and necessary social responsibility and continues to provide consumer choice to maximise the enormous potential of these products. Article 20 of this Directive patently will not deliver this environment."
Notes to Editor
For further information about Totally Wicked Ltd: http://www.totallywicked-eliquid.co.uk
Totally Wicked are represented by Addleshaw Goddard LLP (http://www.addleshawgoddard.com) and Kieron Beal QC of Blackstone Chambers (http://www.blackstonechambers.com/people/barristers/kieron_beal.html).
In December 2012 the European Commission brought forward proposals to amend the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD). These proposals sought to bring electronic cigarettes within the scope of the Directive for the first time. Final agreement on the amended TPD was reached between the European Commission, Parliament and Council in December 2013. Member States have until May 2016 to implement the TPD.
Article 20 of the TPD deals specifically with the regulation of electronic cigarettes.
To read the TPD in full: http://ec.europa.eu/health/tobacco/docs/dir_201440_en.pdf
For further information please contact
Fraser Cropper, Managing Director at Totally Wicked
E: [email protected]
Richard Hyslop, Endeavour Public Affairs
E: [email protected]
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