Everything you wanted to know about the Evin Law, without having dared to ask

Monday March 24 2014 by trans. by R.Radford


For more than fifteen years, lawyer Olivier Poulet, has put the Evin Law into practice on a daily basis, and yet has still not exhausted all of its potential ambiguity and imprecision.   Given his experience he is now able to summarise the law (91-32) of 10th January 1991 into a “written text in such a way that he leaves open its interpretation, by approximately defining the terms (e.g. ‘advertising’ and ‘bill boarding’) or tackling only very general themes (e.g. consumption methods).  In the end, any room for manoeuvre is left to the judge”.  Unpredictable legal cases mounted a priori by medical watchdogs using the Evin Law have created an uncertain legal environment for marketing wines and spirits.  Speaking from his office in Rennes, Oliver Poulet (photo) considers that it is simply not possible to guarantee “whether a publicity campaign for alcoholic drinks will conform to the law before its launch, given that there is a large differences in interpretation by ANPAA (the French National Association for the Prevention of Alcoholism and Addiction) and judges”.

 In order to clear up this uncertainty, Pernod’s former legal director has just launched the site Alcool&Droit (Alcohol and the Law), accessible by subscription, with the ambitious aim of bringing together all information in one place to increase understanding of the application of the Evin Law; from parliamentary business in 1991 to legal implementation, as well as the law itself and ethical recommendations made by the advertising regulation authority ARPP (ANPAA having demanded that all decisions relating to advertising conform to this code).  The other unique feature of this internet resource is that it offers practical guides which respond to the many questions asked by specialists working in the wine and spirits sector.  For example “which legal notices are required on a website?”, “can we give away alcohol branded t-shirts?”.

Taking the form of a positive list approach, the Evin Law prohibits de facto anything that is not authorised in the text.  This makes it “ill-suited to the current climate” criticises Olivier Poulet, “since 2009 the law authorises the use of the internet for communication, but in a broad and imprecise way”.  If forthcoming public health texts could have led to clarification of the legislation, “the debate is monopolised by ANPAA and the Inter-ministerial Working Party on the Fight against Drugs and Drug Addiction (MILDT), who are seeking to toughen up the regulations, rather than simplifying them or at the very least, make them clearer”.

[Source : Vitisphere ; Photo : Olivier Poulet at his offices]


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