Isn’t this fun about Philip Morris?

An international tribunal has unveiled a secret ruling confirming it rejected a bid by tobacco giant Philip Morris to sue Australia over its plain packaging laws, calling the attempt “an abuse of rights”.

In its heavily redacted 186-page ruling dating from 17 December 2015, the permanent court of arbitration said it had no jurisdiction over the case brought by Philip Morris.

There’s lots of heavy panting about the ISDS provisions in TTIP and TPP. And this Philip Morris case is eternally used as an example of how terrible it all is. But, but, corporations would be able to sue governments!

Yep, they can. And look what happens: often enough they get sent away with a flea in their ear.

ISDS gives people a neutral court venue to sue a government. It most certainly doesn’t say that they’re going to win.

10 thoughts on “Isn’t this fun about Philip Morris?”

  1. And there are mon-discrination clauses in double taxation treaties, effectively leading to bilateral arbitration. They have existed for decades and decades without any complaint from the TTIP gang. Frankly I wouldn’t think they are even aware they exist.

  2. Philip Scott Thomas

    …a bid by tobacco giant Philip Morris to sue Australia over its plain packaging laws

    I Love You Philip Morris

  3. Suppose a firm got a decision against the US government. I suspect that there’s not the faintest chance that the buggers would pay up. They’d probably find a way to ruin the company instead.

  4. If we have PCA what do we need ISDS for?

    The ruling as the Guardian describes it is a little troubling. Legal jurisdiction competition is just as reasonable a thing as tax competition. Based on the article Philip Morris Asia covered themselves with the Hong Kong / Australia investment protection several years before plain packaging became the law. It would be wrong imo for the PCA to have said that even though Philip Morris re-organised their business well in advance of the legislation, the investment protection should not apply to them because er… reasons.

    However, the Guardian may have some of their facts a little wrong. Other timelines put the relevant restructuring *after* the Australian government announced its intentions.

  5. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Tel: It’s brilliant, but cask-strength idiocy like that gets a bit overwhelming quite quickly I find.

  6. Forgive my ignorance but how does an individual currently go about suing the government?

    Assuming this is possible then why not use the existing structure? Surely the shareholders can sue to protect their economic interests.

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