Archie Battersbee case: Court rejects UN appeal to delay end of life support for 12-year-old boy

Archie Battersbee’s life support will be terminated today after a last-ditch bid for the withdrawal of the 12-year-old’s treatment to be further postponed was rejected by the Court of Appeal.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 1st August 2022, 10:42 pm
Archie Battersbee, the 12-year-old boy who suffered a "devastating" brain injury.
Archie Battersbee, the 12-year-old boy who suffered a "devastating" brain injury.

Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee made an urgent application to the United Nations (UN) Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities last week after their court battle against Barts Health NHS Trust over his treatment ended.

The youngster was due to have his life-support at the Royal London Hospital in east London ended at 2pm yesterday, after a High Court judge ruled this to be in his best interests and the family exhausted all routes of appeal.

However, the UN committee issued a request to the UK government on Friday, asking that it “refrain from withdrawing life-preserving medical treatment, including mechanical ventilation and artificial nutrition and hydration” from Archie while his case is under consideration by the committee.

The government’s legal department then wrote an urgent letter on Sunday on behalf of Health Secretary Steve Barclay, asking the courts to urgently consider the committee’s request.

Sir Andrew McFarlane, sitting with Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Moylan, said: “My decision is that, save for granting a short stay until 12 noon tomorrow, the parents’ application for any further stay is dismissed.”

The judge said the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, under which the UN committee made its request, is an “unincorporated international treaty”.

He said: “It is not part of the law of the United Kingdom … and it is not appropriate for this court to apply an unincorporated international treaty into its decision-making process.”

He added: “Every day that (Archie) continues to be given life-sustaining treatment is contrary to his best interests and, so, a stay, even for a short time, is against his best interests.”

The judge said that was the decision that has been taken in the courts of England and Wales.

The judges refused to grant permission to appeal against their ruling at the Supreme Court.

Ms Dance indicated she and Archie’s father Paul Battersbee will make an application to the UK’s highest court.

She said: “We continue to be shocked and traumatised by the brutality of the UK courts and the hospital trust.

“Our wishes as parents continue to be trampled on and ignored. We do not understand the urgency and rush to end life-support.

“This is no way for a compassionate society to treat a family in our situation. We will continue to fight for Archie.”