What We Do
The International Legal Consortium (ILC) is a team of lawyers who provide technical assistance on tobacco control legislation and litigation to governments and civil society organizations around the world to promote strong, evidenced-based tobacco control policies founded on the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).
The ILC is part of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK). CTFK is one of five coordinating partners for the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use launched in 2006 by New York City Mayor and philanthropist Michael Bloomberg. Our mission is to eliminate tobacco-caused death and disease in low- and middle-income countries by advocating for the adoption and implementation of effective laws and policies.
- Legal technical assistance
Legislation: drafting and analysis
Litigation: defend legal challenges and initiate actions
- Legislative drafting tools
- Seminars and training on tobacco control policy development and implementation
- Forums for tobacco control lawyers
- Promotion of tobacco control in international law
Legal technical assistance
Legislation: drafting and analysis
The ILC works with government officials and civil society organizations to develop and draft tobacco control legislation using the WHO FCTC and its implementing guidelines as the basis. The ILC assists by:
- Drafting tobacco control laws from initial concept;
- Reviewing draft tobacco control bills, regulations or decrees and providing detailed feedback and suggestions;
- Providing evidence in support of the provisions of draft legislation that can be used to advance the bill during the government or parliamentary processes;
- Advising on effective policy development processes to ensure laws are robust against legal challenge; and
- Providing advice to combat and preempt tobacco industry tactics to delay or undermine the progress towards comprehensive tobacco control laws.
The ILC always seeks to work within the legal context and legislative framework of the countries in which advice and assistance is given.
Litigation: help defend against legal challenges and initiate actions to further tobacco control policy
The tobacco companies have a global litigation strategy and use similar legal arguments across different jurisdictions. The ILC has in-depth knowledge of and experience with tobacco control litigation and can provide:
- Assistance to governments with their defense against legal challenges to tobacco control policies and laws;
- Assistance to civil society to intervene in legal challenges to tobacco control laws;
- Assistance to civil society organizations that are bringing cases to advance or enforce tobacco control laws; and
- Advice on cost recovery or class action suits against the tobacco companies.
Many judges, courts and tribunals lack prior knowledge of or experience with tobacco harms and tobacco control. The ILC can assist in providing the evidence and international context about:
- The health and societal harms caused by tobacco;
- The large evidence base that supports tobacco control measures, especially those mandated or recommended by the WHO FCTC;
- The legal significance of international consensus on tobacco control established by the WHO FCTC;
- Judgments on tobacco control measures from around the world; and
- The tobacco industry’s proven history of lies and fraud relating to the harms of tobacco products and the promotion of their products.
Tools for legislative drafting
The ILC is continually developing legal resources to assist governments and civil society with drafting, adopting and defending strong and effective tobacco control laws. A full list of these, and other, resources can be found here and include:
- Tobacco Control Laws database. An interactive database designed for advocates, researchers, legal professionals, and others to access information about and analysis of tobacco control legislation and litigation around the world.
- Resources for drafting comprehensive tobacco control legislation based on the WHO FCTC and its implementing guidelines. Resources include a series on Essential Elements of Tobacco Control Legislation and a template for tobacco control legislation.
- Plain Packaging Toolkit. A practical guide to policy development, evidence gathering and legislative drafting - drawing on the experiences of Australia, the UK, Ireland and other countries that have already implemented plain packaging laws and defeated tobacco industry legal challenges.
Seminars and training on tobacco control policy development and implementation
The ILC undertakes legal seminars for government officials and civil society representatives on best practice law and policy development in all areas of tobacco control, the evidence base for different policies, drafting legislation, implementation and enforcement.
Forums for tobacco control lawyers
The ILC has established a number of secure web-based forums for lawyers involved in tobacco control from government, civil society and private practice, to allow the exchange of information, discussions and queries. The forums operate in English, Spanish, French and Russian, with a region-specific forum for South Asia and a topic-specific forum on trade and investment law. Find out more.
Promotion of tobacco control in international law
Lawyers in the ILC work to advance the WHO FCTC through participation in the governing body of the treaty, the World Health Assembly and other international law forums.