Case Law: Leclerc-Siplec

2 Colum. J. Eur. L. 107 (1995)

Piet Van Nuffel. Fellow of the Belgian National Foundation for Scientific Research, Institute for European Law, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.

Case C-412/93, Société d’Importation Edouard Leclerc-Siplec v. TF1 Publicité SA and M6 Publicité SA, February 9, 1995, 1995 E.C.R. 1-179 Televised advertising; Free movement of goods and services

Facts and Procedure

This case was the result of a suit brought by Leclerc-Siplec (a French distributor of fuel at service stations belonging to the Leclerc supermarket group) against the French television advertising companies TF1 Publicité and M6 Publicité. TF1 and M6 had refused to broadcast an advertisement for Leclerc-Siplec’s petrol stations on the ground that Article 8 of Decree No 92/280 of March 27, 1992 excluded the distribution sector from televised advertising. The parties to the proceedings before the Tribunal de Commerce of Paris agreed that the advertisement in question was caught by Article 8, which also prohibits the advertisement of certain other specific goods and economic sectors.1 By forcing the distribution sector to advertise in regional daily newspapers, the prohibition aims to protect the regional daily press and to encourage pluralism in the media, at least as far as the distribution sector is concerned. As Leclerc-Siplec was of the view that the prohibition was contrary to Community law, it asked the French court to refer to the Court of Justice pursuant to Article 177 of the EC Treaty. Remarkably enough, the broadcasting companies not only agreed with this view but also asked the court to formulate its question so as to refer to all sectors excluded from airtime by the Decree.