Procedure before the UPC (3): Oral procedure

Witnesses will only be heard during the oral procedure if ordered during the interim procedure (Rule 112.2(b) of the draft Rules of Procedure of the UPC). If ordered, witnesses and experts may be heard – always under the control of the presiding judge – either during a separate hearing before the panel or during the oral hearing (Rules 104(h) and 112.3 of the draft Rules of Procedure of the UPC). Where a witness or expert is heard during the oral hearing, the presiding judge and the judges of the panel may put questions to the witness or expert. The parties may also – under the control of the presiding judge – put questions to the witness or expert (Rule 112.3 and .4 of the draft Rules of Procedure of the UPC).

Only in exceptional cases may the UPC give its decision immediately after the closure of the oral hearing (Rule 118.8 of the draft Rules of Procedure of the UPC); in such cases, the written reasoning will be provided on a subsequent date.

Normally, the UPC's decisions on the merits will be given after the closure of the oral hearing, as soon as possible. The stated objective is that decisions are issued in writing within six weeks of the oral hearing (Rule 118.7 of the draft Rules of Procedure of the UPC).