quill.gif (3183 bytes) Cons. const., July 29, 1994, D.S.L., 1994, No. 94-345 .

Facts: Sixty deputies from the National Assembly challenged the constitutionality of the loi Toubon before the Conseil Constitutionnel. Article 7 of the loi Toubon required publicly funded teachers and researchers, both French and foreign, to provide either a French publication or a French translation of their work. Other provisions of the loi Toubon required private persons and radio, sound, or television broadcastings to employ official French terminology, under penalty of sanctions

Issue: the deputies claimed that the proposed law was contrary to principles of freedom of communication, thought, and opinion, freedom of commerce and industry, and freedom of education. They also claimed that the law violated principles of equality and the proportionality of punishment.

Holding: the Conseil Constitutionnel held that the proposed Loi Toubon was constitutional, except article 7 and the provisions relating to official French terminology were unconstitutional.

Reasoning: Article 2 of the French Constitution provided that "The language of the Republic shall be French". The legislature had the right to impose the mandatory use of the French language. However, 2 provisions of the Law violated article 11 of the Declaration. Article 7 of the Law imposed restraints that "injure the free exercise of the freedom of expression and communication in teaching and research." because there were no conditions attached to this option.   Consequently, the stipulation did not provide a sufficient guarantee of the preservation of the freedoms in question. Moreover, provisions of the loi Toubon that required private persons and radio, sound, or television broadcastings to employ official French terminology, under penalty of sanctions, were unconstitutional, pursuant to Article 11 of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. The legislature could, however, impose a particular linguistic content upon public entities, or private individuals or entities undertaking a public service. The provisions in question did not distinguish between the obligations imposed upon public entities and private individuals, they were unconstitutional.

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