The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has opted to appeal to the UK Supreme Court against minimum unit pricing for alcohol in Scotland.
The Court of Session in Edinburgh rejected the SWA’s legal challenge against minimum pricing in October, clearing the path for the Scottish Government to introduce the plans. But the SWA has now decided to appeal the ruling.
Julie Hesketh-Laird, SWA acting chief executive, said the decision was not taken lightly and followed wide consultation with its members.
“However, given our strong view that minimum pricing is incompatible with EU law and likely to be ineffective, we now hope that our appeal can be heard quickly in the UK Supreme Court,” she said.
“Having studied the ruling, we believe the Scottish court has not properly reviewed the legislation’s compatibility with EU law as required by the European Court’s judgment.
“We remain committed to working closely with the Scottish government and everyone else who shares our common goal of tackling alcohol misuse.”
But Scottish health secretary Shona Robinson said the SWA’s decision to appeal was “deeply disappointing”.
“Their seeking leave to appeal to the Supreme Court is now the only stumbling block to minimum unit pricing being introduced. Of course, it is not yet inevitable that the appeal would proceed all the way to the Supreme Court,” she added.
“I think the SWA may want to consider that minimum unit pricing was passed with the overwhelming support of the Parliament, has been tested in Europe, and has now been approved twice in the Scottish courts.”
She said the government was confident that the Supreme Court would find the policy to be lawful.