The written reasons for a decision delivered during oral proceedings can only be signed by members of the deciding body who took part in the oral proceedings. The same principle applies if between the orally delivered decision and the written decision proceedings in accordance with R. 58(4) EPC (R. 82(1) EPC) have taken place (T 390/86, OJ 1989, 30). The board went on to say that in a case where a final substantive decision has been given orally by an opposition division during oral proceedings, if the subsequent written decision giving the reasons for such oral substantive decision is signed by persons who did not constitute the opposition division during the oral proceedings, the decision is invalid.
A decision signed by two members who had taken part in the oral proceedings and by one who had not was held null and void in T 243/87. The board ordered remittal to the department of first instance, and a refund of the appeal fee because a substantial procedural violation had occurred.