TLT have been successful in a petition for judicial review in relation to the controversial Scottish Deposit Return Scheme, acting for client Abdul Majid & Son Ltd. Aidan O’Neill KC and Advocate David Welsh were instructed in the case, which was heard at the Court of Session on 30 March 2023. The case related to a specific aspect of the scheme, namely whether the scheme administrator Circularity Scotland Ltd (CSL) had acted lawfully in setting retailer handling fees.
Whilst the scheme has now been delayed until at least October 2025, with the scheme administrator having been placed into administration, the case confirms that the scheme could not have gone ahead in the form as put forward. This is because CSL had no power to set handling fees, which were therefore unlawful.
Stephen McGowan, Partner and Head of Licensing (Scotland) at TLT LLP, has been advising clients on various aspects of the DRS regime. He said:
“I am delighted for Abdul that he has won his case. This decision is of wider public interest given the attention the DRS scheme has attracted in recent weeks. It is of note that this decision is unrelated to any wider concerns around the UK internal market, and is focused on the discrete point of handling fees for retailers. I hope both the UK and Scottish Governments, along with any future scheme administrator, will reflect on this decision. I am very grateful to my colleagues John Paul Sheridan and Peter McGladrigan who led on this case, and for the efforts of both senior and junior counsel.”
Abdul Majid MBE commented:
“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. I am grateful to TLT and the wider legal team for supporting me with this.”
The Chief Executive of the Scottish Grocer’s Federation, Dr Pete Cheema OBE, said:
“This decision essentially stops the DRS progressing in its current form. The team at TLT have been a trusted advisor to the SGF for some years and their support on issues arising from DRS have been of considerable assistance.”