The European Court of Justice


Sir, – Please stop reporting opinions of the advocate general of the Court of Justice of the European Union as “rulings”, as they have no legal effect (“European Court of Justice rules in favour of plain packaging directive for cigarettes”, December 23rd). – Yours, etc,


FP Logue Solicitors,

Smithfield, Dublin 7.

Sir, – Opinions issued by the advocates general of the European Court of Justice of the European Union, such as that of Julianne Kokott on the new tobacco directive, are not in any sense “preliminary decisions”. The court, in its ultimate judgment, remains free to depart from either the reasoning or the conclusions of the advocate general. In this instance, it might even issue a judgment that says nothing about the permissibility of plain packaging under the directive.

While the court expressed considerable scepticism in its judgment on minimum alcohol pricing, it did not preclude the introduction of such measures. It remains open for any member state to demonstrate that minimum pricing is a suitable and necessary means by which to achieve a legitimate public health objective, and that no less restrictive but equally effective alternative measures, such as taxation, are available. – Yours, etc,


London School

of Economics,