7.9. Closing the debate

According to the established practice, the closing of the debate marks the last moment in the oral proceedings at which parties can still make submissions (G 12/91, OJ 1994, 285; R 10/08; R 14/10).

In T 577/11 the board held that if the debate on a particular topic had been closed without announcement of a decision on the matter, the board had discretion over whether it would re-open the debate and over the extent to which it would do so. A decision given orally by a board became effective and binding by virtue of being pronounced (see G 12/91). It excluded any re-opening of the debate. In addition to announcing a decision or re-opening the debate, the board could announce conclusions of its deliberations or invite the parties to discuss the next topic. A re-opening of the debate was an exception (cf. R 10/08) and there was no right of a party to have the debate re-opened.

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