Archie Battersbee's family win Court of Appeal fight in life-support case

Doctors initially ruled the 12-year-old "brain-stem dead" after a tragic fall in April this year

Published

The family of a 12-year-old boy at the centre of a life-support treatment case have won a Court of Appeal fight.

The parents of Archie Battersbee pursued a review of his case following the ruling from a High Court judge deeming the youngster dead.

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot ruled earlier this month that doctors could lawfully stop providing treatment to Archie, after considering evidence at a trial in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

Earlier today, three appeal judges ruled that evidence relating to what was in Archie's best interests should be reexamined by an alternative High Court Judge.

Archie Battersbee's mother Hollie Dance (right) and family friend Ella Carter, outside the High Court in London
Archie Battersbee's mother Hollie Dance (right) and family friend Ella Carter, outside the High Court in London
Archie Battersbee is at the centre of a legal battle over whether to continue his life-support treatment
Archie Battersbee is at the centre of a legal battle over whether to continue his life-support treatment

Lawyers representing Archie's parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, argued how Mrs Justice Arbuthnot had made fundamental errors in her judgement.

Edward Devereux QC, who is fronting Archie’s parents’ legal team, argued that the case should be remitted to the High Court so a judge could carry out a deeper analysis of whether it was in Archie’s best interests for life-sustaining treatment to continue.

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 permitted the parents’ appeal and said the case would be reheard next month.

Doctors who are providing care to Archie at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, expressed their concerns regarding his condition, saying how they thought he was "brain-stem dead".

They maintained their view, saying life-saving treatment should end and Archie should be disconnected from a ventilator.

Lawyers representing the Royal London Hospital’s governing trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, had asked Mrs Justice Arbuthnot to decide what moves were in Archie’s best interests.

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot concluded Archie was dead, and said treatment should end.

Mr Devereux said evidence had not shown “beyond reasonable doubt” that Archie was dead.

He stated a decision had been made on a balance of probabilities, arguing a decision of such “gravity” should have been made on a “beyond reasonable doubt” basis.

Mr Devereux emphasised how 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.

Archie sustained catastrophic injuries following a tragic fall at his home in Southend, Essex in early April.

Ms Dance said she found her son unconscious with a ligature over his head on April 7.

Since the accident he has not regained consciousness, and remained on life-support ever-since.

The case will be reconsidered at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court on July 11, three appeal judges said.

Ms Dance said after the appeal hearing: “We’re delighted. We wanted another hearing and we’ve got everything we wanted.”

Mr Battersbee said: “Delighted. It couldn’t really have gone any better today.”