Clifford Chance

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Clifford Chance is an international law firm, based in London (UK).

Working for the Tobacco Industry

An article in The Independent in September 2011 revealed that Philip Morris International (PMI) had used the services of Clifford Chance in September 2009 to make an anonymous Freedom of Information (FOI) request on PMI’s behalf. PMI was seeking to force Stirling University to reveal confidential details of its research involving thousands of children aged between 11 and 16 about their attitudes towards smoking and cigarette packaging.1
It was also reported that whilst lodging the FOI request, Clifford Chance had attempted to keep the identity of its client confidential.2 Under the Scottish Freedom of Information Act a third party must name the client it is working on behalf of, in this case PMI.
Previously secret internal tobacco industry documents suggest that Clifford Chance has acted as a long-standing legal consultant to the industry since the mid-1970s, and that clients included Philip Morris,3 the Tobacco Advisory Council4 and British American Tobacco. 5
Furthermore, Clifford Chance was one of the signatories to the 1988 “Joint Legal/Profession Privileged Defence Agreement”, an agreement between tobacco industry lawyers to cooperate and share information to prepare and defend any product liability cases against a tobacco company.6

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  1. Connor, Steve. Smoked out: tobacco giant’s war on science, The Independent 1 September 2011, accessed 28 November 2011
  2. Connor, Steve. Smoke and mirrors: how the tobacco industry hides behind lobbyists, The Independent 3 September 2011, accessed 28 November 2011
  3. Philip Morris, Letter from Alicia M Jolles to H Brass regarding Keith Teel’s draft article, 10 January 1991, accessed 28 November 2011
  4. Tobacco Advisory Council, Meeting with Neil Hamilton MP – Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Corporate Affairs, 22 October 1993, accessed 28 November 2011
  5. British American Tobacco, Clifford Chance, 23 June 1988, accessed 28 November 2011
  6. British American Tobacco, Industry Lawyers’ Meeting, 14 April 1988, accessed 28 November 2011