Archie Battersbee's parents have said they plan to submit an application to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) as part of ongoing efforts to keep their 12-year-old son alive.
Archie's mother and father, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, have repeatedly fought back against a High Court ruling that their son should be allowed to die after he was found unconscious at his home in Essex in April.
The young boy currently remains on life support at the Royal London Hospital, but Dance announced his life support was expected to be withdrawn at 11.00am today (3 August) before they decided to appeal to the ECHR.
A solicitor for the family has been given until 9.00am to file the application; a deadline criticised by Dance.
She commented: "Our solicitors will be filing to the European Court of Human Rights. They’ve been given a strict timeline of 9am. Again, no time whatsoever. Every single court case we’ve had we’ve had no time at all, one or two days to prepare and get the whole case together.”
Dance said her legal team has described the attitude of Royal London Hospital as 'brutal', and claimed Archie has been refused a hospice. Doctors treating the 12-year-old have previously declared him brain-stem dead and said continuing life support treatment would not be in his best interests.
Supreme Court judges said they have 'great sympathy' Archie’s parents, but expressed belief there is 'no prospect of any meaningful recovery'.
Alistair Chesser, chief medical officer for Barts Health NHS Trust, said: “Our deepest sympathies remain with Archie’s family. As directed by the courts, we will now work with the family to prepare for the withdrawal of treatment.
“We aim to provide the best possible support to everyone at this difficult time.”
The application to the ECHR comes after the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) requested that Archie's treatment continue until it had time to review the case. The court of appeal set a deadline of midday on Tuesday, with a limited extension granted so the parents could appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.
On Tuesday morning, a panel of judges ruled to refuse the appeal, writing: "The justices have great sympathy with the plight of Archie’s devoted parents who face a circumstance that is every parent’s nightmare – the loss of a much-loved child.
“It is nonetheless the task of the court to apply the law which requires judges to give paramount consideration to Archie’s welfare. The court of appeal in its careful judgment delivered by its president, Sir Andrew McFarlane, yesterday, has exercised its discretion in refusing a stay. This court can overrule that exercise of discretion only if it is satisfied that the court of appeal has made an error of law or principle or has otherwise fallen into error in that exercise.”
Dance has expressed belief Archie has been 'let down' by the legal system.
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