On 17 June 2010, the French court of appeal (the
"Court") invalidated a judicial warrant issued to the
French Competition Authority (the "Authority")
authorising dawn raids at the premises of Amaury, a media group
publishing sport newspapers. Amaury was suspected of abusing
its dominant position on the sport newspapers market, notably
because it launched a daily sport newspaper very similar to one
recently launched by one of its competitors.
This judicial warrant had been granted to the Authority on the
basis of an array of factors indicating that Amaury's behaviour
was potentially restricting competition.
Following the dawn raids, Amaury applied to the Court asking for
the warrant to be annuled.
In invalidating the warrant, the Court considered that the level
of presumption necessary to authorise dawn raids of press companies
should be higher than for other companies in consideration of the
principles of freedom of the press and protection of
The Court also indicated that in this case the evidence of
anticompetitive behaviour was insufficient to establish public
interest in granting a dawn raid warrant. Finally, the Court
stated that the restriction to the freedom of the press principles
was not proportionate and justified.
In addition, the Court considered the launch of a new sport
newspaper by Amaury could have pro competitive effects.
As a result, the Court stated that (i) the warrant was invalid
and (ii) the seized documents had to be returned to Amaury.
The Authority has already announced that it will appeal the
To view Community Week, Issue 477, 25 June 2010 in full,
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