Saturday, 26 September 2009

Behold the Day of Judgement

A colleague recently analysed a bunch of 2200+ decisions of the Boards of Appeal (including the Enlarged Board of Appeal) as to their dates. Here is what he found with respect to the days of the week on which the Boards take their decisions. In almost all cases these dates correspond to the dates of oral proceedings (OPs) before the respective Boards.

Normally the OPs of each Board are held twice a week, i.e. on Tuesday and on Thursday, which explains the two ‘peaks’. On the day before, the members of the Boards often finish their preparation for the OPs. If the OPs were held on Mondays, the final preparation would have to take place on Sunday. Fridays have the drawback that the OPs have to come to an end in the evening. As a consequence, there have been OPs on Fridays ending at 8 p.m. (which is an almost unbearable thought for EPO staff).

As far as Saturdays and Sundays are concerned, no decisions are taken on these days. A Board member explained that he knew only one exception to weekend rest : the Enlarged Board sometimes deliberates on Saturdays. You will have noted that nevertheless 0.3 and 0.2 per cent of the decisions, respectively, were found to have been taken on Saturdays and Sundays. In fact, these are cases where there must be an error in the date.