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Archie Battersbee: Court of Appeal grants parents’ request for new hearing

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 29/06/2022 Daniel Keane
Archie Battersbee court case © PA Media Archie Battersbee court case

Court of Appeal judges have ruled that a High Court judge should reconsider the case of Archie Battersbee and decide whether it is in his best interests for life-support treatment to end.

Archie’s parents had asked for a review after Mrs Justice Arbuthnot concluded that the 12-year-old boy was dead and that doctors could lawfully stop providing him with treatment.

Three appeal judges on Wednesday ruled that evidence relating to what was in Archie’s best interests should be reconsidered by a different High Court judge.

Archie was found unconscious at his home in Southend, Essex, on April 7 after suffering serious brain damage.

Doctors treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel told Mrs Justice Arbuthnot how they thought that he was “brain-stem dead”. They argued treatment should end and Archie should be disconnected from a ventilator.

However, Archie’s parents argued that his heart is still beating and want treatment to continue.

Video: Archie Battersbee’s mother vows to appeal in life-support treatment fight (The Independent)

Archie Battersbee’s mother vows to appeal in life-support treatment fight

Lawyers representing Archie’s parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, of Southend, Essex, argued that High Court judge Mrs Justice Arbuthnot had made errors in her original ruling.

Edward Devereux QC, representing the family, said that in a case of such “gravity” there “cannot be room for question marks”.

He argued that that judges should apply a “standard of proof of beyond reasonable doubt”, not the balance of probabilities, when deciding whether to declare that Archie was dead.

Appeal judges Sir Geoffrey Vos, the Master of the Rolls; Sir Andrew McFarlane, the president of the Family Division of the High Court and most senior family court judge in England and Wales; and Lady Justice King allowed the parents’ appeal and said the case would be reheard next month.

They said the case would be reconsidered by Mr Justice Hayden at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court on July 11.

Ms Dance said she found Archie unconscious with a ligature over his head on April 7 and thinks he might have been taking part in an online challenge. He has not regained consciousness.

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