Sir: Angela Harbutt (‘Plain alcohol next’, 28 April) is right to identify the potential lost revenue to the Exchequer if plain tobacco packaging comes into effect. But as the legal dispute between the Australian government and the tobacco firms demonstrates, setting a precedent around plain packaging is easier said than done.
And the additional complexities of EU law will make it even harder to achieve. The European Convention of Human Rights recognises the right to property and peaceful enjoyment of possessions, which includes trademarks. It also protects freedom of expression, which could include branding. If legislation were to be passed in the UK and not in other EU member states, there is potentially restriction on free movement of goods. So it could take years to implement plain packaging.
Paul Medlicott, head of consumer goods at law firm Addleshaw Goddard