Tobacco giant Philip Morris has been ordered to pay the Australian government millions of dollars in legal costs after its failed bid to kill off plain packaging laws.
While the exact figure is a closely-guarded secret – and is redacted from the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s new ruling – it’s believed the bill could be as high as $50 million.
The court published its decision at the weekend, bringing a six-year legal battle to a close. Big tobacco companies fought hard against the world-first plain-packaging laws – introduced by Julia Gillard’s Labor government in 2011 – and first took the case to Australia’s High Court.
When that failed, Philip Morris Asia mounted a challenge in the Singapore-based international court using provisions – known as investor-state dispute settlement – of an obscure Hong Kong-Australia investment treaty. The manufacturer of Marlboro and Longbeach cigarettes wanted the tribunal to order Australia to scrap the laws or to award damages of at least $US4.2 billion.
The court dismissed the case in …