The Permanent Court of Arbitration [official website] has published a decision [order, PDF] that Philip Morris must pay substantial legal fees to the Australian government for a failed suit the tobacco company brought concerning cigarette packaging laws. In 2011 Australia, the UK and other countries replaced [Guardian report] logos and distinctive coloring on cigarette packages with graphic health warnings. After a six-year legal battle fighting the new packaging regulations, Philip Morris lost its claim for damages. Philip Morris argued that Australia’s claim for costs related to arbitration was “unreasonable” as the country’s legal team primarily consisted of public servants. Australia contended that the amount requested was a small proportion of the amount of damages sought by Philip Morris in the initial suit. The exact amount rewarded was omitted from the order. In similar cases against the tobacco giant, the US and Canada claimed $4.5 million and $3 million respectively.
Cigarettes continue to be a serious health and legal issue around the world. In May 2016 the EU Court of Justice [official website] upheld [JURIST report] EU rules that will require health warnings to cover 65 percent of a cigarette pack. In June 2015 a judge for the Quebec Superior Court awarded over $15 billion [JURIST report] in damages to Quebec smokers in a case against tobacco companies JTI-Macdonald, Imperial Tobacco, and Rothmans, Benson & Hedges, making this the largest award for damages and the biggest class action lawsuit in Canada’s history. In May 2014 the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit [official website] upheld the dismissal [JURIST report] of a consolidated lawsuit brought against various tobacco companies. In August 2014 the World Health Organization (WHO) [official website]called for strict regulation [JURIST report] of electronic cigarettes, including a ban on the usage of the devices in public places and advertising targeting minors. In June 2014 the Supreme Administrative Court of Thailand approved a new regulation [JURIST report] requiring packs of cigarettes in the country to be 85 percent covered with graphic health warnings.