Oral proceedings give the applicant an opportunity to exercise his rights under Art. 113(1). In examination proceedings, when an applicant files amended claims before oral proceedings which he subsequently does not attend, he may expect a decision based on objections which might arise against such claims in his absence. A decision can be taken based on facts and arguments presented earlier in the proceedings and/or based on new arguments which may be expected to be raised (see OJ EPO 2008, 471).
In examination proceedings, the summons to oral proceedings should include all the objections that are likely to be discussed during oral proceedings and should indicate that amended claims in response to the communication will have to be examined at the oral proceedings for compliance with the EPC. This ensures that the applicant's right to be heard (Art. 113(1)) is respected and that the proceedings are not delayed unnecessarily if an applicant does not attend oral proceedings.