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Robert Lecourt (19 September 1908 – 9 August 2004) was a French politician and lawyer, judge and the fourth President of the European Court of Justice. He was born in Pavilly and died in Boulogne-Billancourt.
He was the president of the Youth People's Democratic Party in 1936, and a lieutenant at the Fort de Saint-Cyr in 1939, whereafter he became actively involved in the French Resistance and a member of the steering committee of the Resistance movement.
In 1958, he was elected in the first constituency of the Hautes-Alpes. A member of two national constituent assemblies, he was elected from the MRP in the Seine district, and retained his mandate during the three legislatures of the Fourth Republic. He chaired the MRP group in the French National Assembly, and was also a member of the Association of MRP until his death.
He served as judge on the European Court of Justice from 1962 to 1976, and as President of the Court from 1967 to 1976. In the fourteen years which he spent in Luxembourg as a European judge, Lecourt had a major impact on the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Communities. In 1964, he was rapporteur in the famous Costa v. ENEL case, in which the Court of Justice ruled that European law had primacy over national law. Lecourt was convinced that this was a necessity for the Court of Justice, and that the European judges had an active role to play in the creation of an ‘ever closer union among the peoples of Europe’. They did have to convince national courts to collaborate.
Soon after his election as president of the court, Lecourt developed a communication strategy to convince national judges of the benefits of the preliminary ruling mechanism, a procedure through which they could ask the European judges questions regarding the interpretation of the European Treaties.
After his retirement from the Court, Lecourt published "L'Europe des Juges" (Bruylant, 1976), an account of the major decisions and principles of European law, targeted at national lawyers and judges.
- Minister of Justice of the government of André Marie (from July 26 to 5 September 1947)
- Minister of Justice of the government of Robert Schuman (Popular Republican Movement, 5 to 11 September 1948)
- Vice-Chairman, Minister of Justice of the government of Henri Queuille (13 February 1949 to 28 October 1949)
- Minister of Justice of the government of Felix Gaillard (6 November 1957 the 14 May 1958)
- Minister of Justice of the Government of Pierre Pflimlin (May 14 to 1 June 1958)
- With the special award of the constitutional reform
- Minister of State of the government of Michel Debré (January 8 to 27 March 1959)
- Minister of State, responsible for cooperation with African States and Madagascar, in the government of Michel Debré (27 March 1959 to 5 February 1960)
- Minister of State in charge of the Sahara, and Overseas Departments and Territories, in the government of Michel Debré (5 February 1960 to 24 August 1961)
- Hilf, Meinhard (2012). Costa v. ENEL case, in Wolfrum, Rudiger (ed.): The Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 824.
- William Phelan, Great Judgments of the European Court of Justice: Rethinking the Landmark Decisions of the Foundational Period (Cambridge, 2019)
- Robert Lecourt (1908 - 2014) http://orbilu.uni.lu/handle/10993/37169
- Vera, Fritz. Juges et avocats généraux de la Cour de Justice de l'Union européenne (1952-1972): une approche biographique de l'histoire d'une révolution juridique [Judges and attorneys general of the European Union Court of Justice (1952-1972): A biographical approach to the history of a judicial revolution] (in French). Francfort-am-Main: Vittorio Klostermann. p. 396. ISBN 978-3-465-04350-8 3465043502 Check
|isbn=value: length (help). OCLC 1030525124. Retrieved 2019-01-16.
- Former Members, European Court of Justice official website.