Archie Battersbee: Court date is set for appeal over life-support ruling on Essex 12-year-old

Archie Battersbee.
Credit: Family photo
Archie Battersbee has been unconscious for two months. Credit: PA Media

The parents of a 12-year-old boy ruled to be dead by a judge are preparing for a Court of Appeal hearing next week as they bid to overturn the judgement.

A High Court judge ruled last week that doctors could lawfully stop treating Archie Battersbee, but in court on Monday lawyers for the family argued that a higher burden of proof should have been used.

Lawyers involved say they expect Court of Appeal judges to consider the case at a hearing in London on Wednesday.

Doctors treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, have told Mrs Justice Arbuthnot that they think the youngster is “brain-stem dead”.

They say treatment should end and think Archie should be disconnected from a ventilator.

Archie Battersbee will continue to receive treatment until a final decision over his future is made. Credit: Family photo

Archie’s parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, of Southend, Essex, say his heart is still beating and want treatment to continue.

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

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot concluded that Archie was dead, and said treatment should end, but gave Ms Dance and Mr Battersbee permission to mount an appeal.

She said there was a “compelling reason” why appeal judges should consider the case.

A barrister leading Archie’s parents’ legal team argued that evidence had not shown “beyond reasonable doubt” that the youngster was dead.

Archie Battersbee's mother Hollie Dance has warned the hospital it faces "the biggest battle ever". Credit: PA/Family photo

Edward Devereux QC said the decision had been made on a balance of probabilities.

He argued a decision of such “gravity” should have been made on a “beyond reasonable doubt” basis.

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot decided that appeal judges should consider that issue of the standard of proof, adding that Court of Appeal judges had never considered it in relation to “declaration of death” cases.

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot heard that Archie suffered brain damage in an incident at home in early April.

Ms Dance said she found her son 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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