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Case Law of the Boards of Appeal

4.1.4 Obligation to give reasons why representative cannot be substituted

The 2000 and 2007 Notices (points 2.5 and 2.3 respectively) state that any request to set another date for oral proceedings should indicate why another representative cannot stand in for the one unable to attend. This means that if and when the Board is satisfied that the representative is prevented from attending, it must therefore be considered whether another representative, who does not have to be from the same firm, can substitute for the prevented representative (T 699/06).

In T 1011/09 the board found that the statement prescribed in point 2.5 of the 2000 Notice had to contain more than a mere expression by the appellant of its general desire to be represented at oral proceedings by its usual representative, and that specific reasons had to be given as to why it was impossible, or at least unreasonably difficult, to arrange a replacement for the representative unable to attend (citing T 1080/99, OJ 2002, 568; T 1067/03; T 300/04 and T 178/03). Moreover, point 2.5 of the 2000 Notice required that the reasons had to go beyond referring to the additional cost of replacing a representative. Such costs had to be accepted, at least up to a reasonable amount, as it could be assumed that they were generally incurred in such cases, given the new representative's need to familiarise himself with the case.