4.
Consolidation of proceedings

The examining or opposition division or the Legal Division may consolidate proceedings if this is considered useful in order to expedite proceedings in the specific circumstances of the case (see J 17/92).

Consolidation should be considered inter alia if the parties and the underlying facts of the proceedings are identical. It is for the responsible division to decide whether proceedings are to be consolidated and, if so, for what purpose. Consolidation may concern the entire procedure or only individual procedural steps such as the taking of evidence or the conduct of oral proceedings.

The parties are to be informed of consolidation. This information should include a statement about the purpose of consolidation. Where proceedings are consolidated for the taking of evidence, this is to be notified in the order to take evidence and in the annex to the summons to oral proceedings. These must be sent to all parties to the consolidated proceedings. Likewise, submissions from the parties filed in respect of only one of the proceedings which are relevant to the consolidated parts of the proceedings must be included in all the files concerned.

Upon fulfilment of its purpose, consolidation is to be set aside and the proceedings are to be continued separately. Again, the parties must be informed accordingly.

A decision to consolidate proceedings is not subject to a separate appeal but may be appealed only together with the final decision, unless the decision allows a separate appeal (see E-X, 3). The same applies mutatis mutandis to a decision setting aside consolidation.

 

 

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