Press Release

Court of Appeal to hold urgent hearing at 11am following government and UN intervention

1 August 2022         Issued by: Christian Concern

Today (August 1) the Court of Appeal will hold an urgent online hearing at 11am following interventions from the government and the UN in the case of Archie Battersbee.

The legal stay on removing Archie’s life support has also been put back in place until 1pm today. Barts Health NHS Trust had set a deadline of 2pm for removing life-support as, until now, there was nothing legally in place to prevent life-support being removed.

The hearing will be online, and journalists and members of the public should contact the Court of Appeal for a link via Microsoft Teams.

Yesterday afternoon, (July 31) the Government Legal Department dramatically referred the case of Archie Battersbee back to the Family Division of the High Court for ‘urgent consideration.’

The move followed the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) issuing an interim measures injunction on Friday 29 July to the UK government.

Despite the intervention, Barts Health NHS Trust, who are responsible for Archie’s care at the Royal London Hospital, said that they would carry on with plans to remove life-support today.

Yesterday afternoon, Archie’s family had also released a statement responding to comments in the media from the hospital Trust regarding withdrawal of life-support, which they have described as ‘misleading.’

On Saturday (30 July), the mother of 12-year-old Archie Battersbee, Hollie Dance, had written an urgent open letter to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Rt. Hon. Stephen Barclay MP, urging the government to prevent withdrawal of life-support being withdrawn following the UN CRPD intervention.

Supported by the Christian Legal Centre, the families’ lawyers had made a last-ditch application to the UN CRPD following the refusal of the UK’s Supreme Court to intervene in the case on Friday 28 July.

The UK has joined the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, which enabled the UNRPD to ask the UK government to delay the withdrawal of life support while a complaint is investigated.

The family argue that stopping treatment would be in breach of the UK’s obligations under Articles 10 and 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, and Article 6 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Children.

The UN CRPD has previously criticised the UK system of withdrawing life-sustaining treatment based on the patient’s ‘best interests’ as determined by the Court. In its 2017 “Concluding observations on the initial report of the United Kingdom” on UK’s compliance with the Convention, the CRPD stated: “The CRPD notes with concern that the substituted decision-making applied in matters of termination or withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment and care is inconsistent with the right to life of persons with disabilities as equal and contributing members of society.”

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