Will Scotland get five years to test their minimum alcohol unit pricing policy?
The BBC reports that the European Court of Justice is to hear evidence from the Scottish government on its case for introducing a minimum unit price for alcohol.

The hearing in Luxembourg will enable the court to produce its preliminary ruling on the policy.

The Scottish Parliament passed legislation to bring in a minimum unit price of 50p in May 2012. But this was fought legally by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), which argued it breached European law.

Scottish ministers have said minimum pricing was vital to address Scotland’s “unhealthy relationship with drink”.

The legal bid by the SWA, backed by other European wine and spirits producers, was initially rejected in 2013. Following an appeal hearing however, the case was referred to the European court for its opinion last year.

Besides Scotland, other EU member states are also expected to make representations at the court, with Ireland, Norway, the UK and Sweden expected to argue in support of the policy.

A preliminary ruling by the court in Luxembourg will be issued later this year and the case will then be referred back to the Court of Session for a final decision.

Source: BBC.com 05/06/15

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