The Tribunal also decided on the format and sequence of the answers to such questions. Specifically, it decided that Claimants and Respondent shall file their answers by 10 April 2020 and 11 May 2020, respectively. The Tribunal also reserved the possibility of having an additional round of answers to the relevant questions (PO 27, paras 13-14)
Respondent specifically stated that Claimants' proposal was also unacceptable because “it creates a fundamental imbalance between the Parties”. This is because Claimants would have 47 days to prepare their answers, whereas Respondent would only have 30 days. An equal extension of time to Respondent of 47 days, i.e., up to 15 June 2020, would not be appropriate given Respondent's counsel's other commitments. Respondent would thus not be in a position to file its answers prior to 22 June 2020.
Because the timeline for Ms. Smutny's recovery remains uncertain, Claimants reserved the right to seek further accommodation to the procedural schedule as may be needed.
Respondent maintained its objection to the extension of Claimants' deadline to file their answers to the Tribunal's questions in PO 27. It noted that, if the Tribunal would grant Claimants' requested extension until 15 May 2020, this would require an extension of the Respondent's deadline until 23 July 2020 (thereby granting each of the Parties 66 days to prepare their answers). This extension would interfere with summer holidays and the Respondent's preparation for the September 2020 hearing, and hinder a possible further round of submissions on the questions in advance of that hearing.
Respondent submitted that if the Tribunal is inclined to grant Claimants' request, the extension should be at most until 27 April 2020 (as Claimants previous request) in order to mitigate the disruption to these proceedings. In that case, Respondent's deadline would need to be extended, as previously indicated, until 22 June 2020.
- The Tribunal appreciates the difficulties that Claimants are facing, in light of the unfortunate event concerning Ms. Smutny and the overlap of the dates for filing their submissions concerning the European Commission Submission and the rebuttal documents set out in PO 27.
- At the same time, it appreciates that Respondent has pre-existing commitments (i.e., two-week hearing on the first half of June 2020) and must not be unnecessarily interrupted in its preparation for the hearing of September 2020.
- Further, the Tribunal must ensure that both Parties are allocated an equal amount of time to reply to the Tribunal's questions set out in PO 27.
- Moreover, in light of its reservation in PO 27 to have an additional round of answers to the relevant questions (PO 27, para. 14), it must ensure that there is sufficient time for such round if the need arises.
(a) Claimants shall file their answers by 5 May 2020, i.e., 55 days following the issuance of PO 27.
(b) Respondent shall file its answers by 30 June 2020, i.e., 55 days following Claimants' answers.
2. Claimants and Respondent shall file their answers to the Tribunal's questions set out in PO 27 by 5 May 2020 and 30 June 2020, respectively.
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