Abdul Majid SGF

Source: Scottish Grocers’ Federation

Majid had been challenging the legality of the retailer handling fees which Circulatory Scotland was seeking to impose on retailers

Scottish convenience retailer Abdul Majid has won his judicial review case against DRS administrator Circularity Scotland.

Majid, who owns a store in Bellshill, North Lanarkshire, had been challenging the legality of the retailer handling fees which Circulatory Scotland (CSL) was seeking to impose on retailers.

These would see small retailers who manually took back containers in the scheme receive 2.69p per container. For automated returns – through reverse vending machines – the fee proposed was 3.55p for the first 8,000 containers received and 1.35p for each additional container.

Scottish Grocers Federation (SGF) CEO Pete Cheema, who has welcomed the news that Majid has won the case, said: “The court of session has held that the way the Scottish government and Circularity Scotland had set up the DRS was unlawful and did not comply with the regulations made by the Scottish parliament.

“Circulatory Scotland had no powers to set the fees that it sought to impose on retailers, and even if it had, then they had still got it wrong by trying to impose a flat fee on all retailers, despite the difference in costs to the operators.

“This decision essentially stops DRS progressing in its current form. It’s hugely disappointing, however, that it took a court action by an independent retailer when SGF had tried for some considerable time to make the Scottish government listen to those directly affected. Indeed, we had personally informed Lorna Slater [minister for green skills, circular economy and biodiversity] that Circulatory Scotland were breaching their licence but she refused to support us when it was obvious we were right.

“Also, we had warned the Scottish government it was never industry-led. Despite representing the largest number of return point operators, our voice was consistently not listened to. SGF is hopeful the UK government will make this legal position binding when they introduce the UK-wide DRS scheme in October 2025.”

Majid added: “I am absolutely delighted to have won my case, one which I feel in many ways was not just for myself but for the many other retailers who would have been negatively impacted if CSL had been able to proceed with their plans for the setting of the retailer handling fee. From the outset it was clear there was an issue over the legality of the retailer handling fees, but it is not as if this was not pointed out to them.

“The Scottish government and CSL were asked to address the concerns of retailers around this matter to avoid the concern, confusion, and uncertainty that it would generate, but to no avail. I hope the UK government take note of this decision and use it to avoid a similar situation arising in any UK-wide scheme.”