National Anti-vivisection Society


National Antivisection Society

Cosmetics testing ban challenged in High Court

Posted: 13 January 2015. Updated: 21 April 2015

The Minister in charge of cosmetics regulation at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has advised the NAVS that the UK Government supports the calls for the ban on cosmetics tests on animals to be upheld. The Government will make a submission to the Court of Justice (ECJ) of the European Union as it considers a referral from the High Court in London on the issue of whether products tested on animals to satisfy non-EU regulations can then be sold in the EU.

The European Federation for Cosmetics Ingredients (EFCI) brought a Judicial Review against the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, claiming that the ban should not apply when animal tests were carried out in countries which still require mandatory data from animal tests before cosmetic products can be placed on the market, such as China and Japan. EFCI claim that it is currently unclear whether marketing such a product in the EU would currently be a criminal offence.

The final marketing ban on those products which have been tested on animals, came into force on 11 March 2013 after a long campaign across Europe. Mr Justice Lewis ruled that the current legislative provisions contain “questions of interpretation” which made it impossible for the UK court to give a ruling. Further confusion is added by the fact that the legislation is translated into many different languages, with legal definitions differing across Member States and at the EU level.

It is not yet clear when the ECJ will issue further guidance on the interpretation of the regulations. In addition to the submission from the UK Government the Court will also consider submissions made by European Institutions and other Member States. The ruling from the ECJ will be vital for the future of the testing ban, which would be effectively worthless if the derogation being sought by the EFCI was granted.

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