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The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health
Building capacity for a tobacco-free world
July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA
The use of litigation and principles of civil liability as tobacco control tools is endorsed in the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and is increasingly an aspect of tobacco regulation strategies. The Supreme Court of Canada confirmed the validity of the Tobacco Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act (British Columbia) in September 2005 in Imperial Tobacco Limited v. British Columbia. The legislation paves the way for the BC Government to sue tobacco companies to recover damages for tobacco-related health care costs. It also removes procedural and evidentiary obstacles traditionally faced by individual and group litigants who sue tobacco companies. This presentation will analyse the strengths and weaknesses of the new legislation as a tobacco regulation tool.
The provisions of the BC legislation will be examined. Particular attention will be paid to those aspects of the legislation that depart from traditional requirements of procedure and proof in civil litigation. The extent to which other Canadian provinces are enacting similar legislation will be identified. Tobacco litigation in other countries will be considered for comparison purposes. The criticisms leveled at the legislation by the tobacco industry and others will be identified.
The strengths and weaknesses of the BC legislation as a tobacco regulation tool, especially its capacity to remove systemic litigation advantages traditionally enjoyed by tobacco manufacturers, will be evaluated. The potential pitfalls of the legislation and the possible arguments that will be made by the tobacco industry in subsequent litigation under the legislation will be identified and assessed.