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Case Law of the Boards of Appeal

 
 
4.12. Excluding the public from oral proceedings

In T 1401/05 (20 September 2006) the board excluded the public from that part of the oral proceedings which concerned the exclusion of certain documents from file inspection. Under Art. 116(4) EPC, oral proceedings shall in principle be public in so far as the board does not decide otherwise in cases where admission of the public could have serious and unjustified disadvantages, in particular for a party to the proceedings. The board held that as the debate dealt with the request for exclusion of certain documents from file inspection, which had been excluded provisionally, the public could not be admitted to the hearing on this point. Otherwise the purpose of the provisional exclusion would have been frustrated. In such a situation, the danger of serious and unjustified disadvantages had to be deemed to exist.