This Friday, at the Centro de Estudios Políticos y Constitucionales in Madrid, friends and colleagues of Gil Carlos Rodríguez Iglesias will participate in a conference in tribute to his contribution to EU Law. The programme is available here and everybody is welcome.
Gil Carlos Rodríguez Iglesias was the first Spanish lawyer to join the Court of Justice as one its members, back in 1986. He was then a very young lawyer in his late thirties, a Professor of Public International Law at the University of Granada, although most of his previous academic parcours had taken place at the Universities Complutense and Autónoma of Madrid. With hard work, determination and commitment, he became a highly respected member of the Court. In fact he became its longest-serving President.
As President of the Court for nine years (only outnumbered in tenure by his successor, Vassilios Skouris), Gil Carlos Rodríguez Iglesias piloted an institution through crucial times. The Amsterdam and Nice Treaties introduced considerable novelties in the EU’s jurisdictional system that became momentous reforms once the Convention on the Future of Europe began its works. The birth of the Charter of Fundamental Rights took place in 2001. Seminal judgments like Köbler, Germany/EP and Council (tobacco directive), Opinion 2/94 (ECHR), as well as fundamental decisions on national remedies (Kraaijeveld, Inter-Environnement Wallonie,, Brasserie du Pêcheur and Factortame) were decided under his presidency.
But above all, Gil Carlos Rodríguez Iglesias represents the true European lawyer: a young student from the University of Oviedo who travelled to Germany to work on his PhD, whose knowledge of languages led him towards International Law and eventually, through hard work and a brilliant mind, paved the way to the highest jurisdiction of an organisation still in the making. The legal system of the EU as we know it today, as well as EU lawyers throughout the continent, are very much in debt with Gil Carlos Rodríguez Iglesias.
These are just a few reasons, among many others, that explain why Friday’s conference in his honour is a well-deserved tribute.