Preamble

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1. The Court shall conduct proceedings in accordance with the Agreement, the Statute and these Rules. In the event of a conflict between the provisions of the Agreement and/or the Statute on the one hand and of the Rules on the other hand, the provisions of the Agreement and/or the Statute shall prevail. 

2. The Rules shall be applied and interpreted in accordance with Articles 41(3), 42 and 52(1) of the Agreement on the basis of the principles of proportionality, flexibility, fairness and equity. 

3. Proportionality shall be ensured by giving due consideration to the nature and complexity of each action and its importance.

4. Flexibility shall be ensured by applying all procedural rules in a flexible and balanced manner with the required level of discretion for the judges to organise the proceedings in the most efficient and cost effective manner.

5. Fairness and equity shall be ensured by having regard to the legitimate interests of all parties. 

6. In accordance with these principles, the Court shall apply and interpret the Rules in a way which shall ensure decisions of the highest quality.

7. In accordance with these principles, proceedings shall be conducted in a way which will normally allow the final oral hearing on the issues of infringement and validity at first instance to take place within one year whilst recognising that complex actions may require more time and procedural steps and simple actions less time and fewer procedural steps. Decisions on costs and/or damages may take place at the same time or as soon as practicable thereafter. Case management shall be organised in accordance with these objectives. Parties shall cooperate with the Court and set out their full case as early as possible in the proceedings.

The Court shall endeavour to ensure consistent application and interpretation of these Rules by all first instance divisions and the Court of Appeal. Due consideration shall also be given to this objective in any decision concerning leave to appeal against procedural orders.