4.13. Presence of assistants during deliberations of the board

According to Art. 19(1), second sentence, RPBA only members of the board may participate in the deliberations; the chairman may, however, authorise other officers to attend. In T 857/06 the board stated that in several EPC contracting states the judicial work of courts, in particular supreme courts and constitutional courts, is supported by assistants. Also the active involvement of assistants in preparing the ground for judicial decisions appeared to be widely accepted. In accordance with this practice, a limited number of assistants supports the EPO's boards of appeal. They are selected in a formal internal recruitment procedure for which only experienced examiners, i.e. permanent employees of the EPO, may apply. The board concluded that the discretion under Art. 19(1), second sentence, RPBA may be exercised to allow the board's assistant to attend and to take part in the deliberations.

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