Archie Battersbee: Judges to consider latest appeal in life-support treatment battle

Archie Battersbee
Credit: Hollie Dance
Archie Battersbee has been at the centre of a court battle for months over his life-support treatment. Credit: PA Media

The latest appeal bid by the family of Archie Battersbee - the 12-year-old boy at the centre of a life-support treatment court battle - is set to be heard by judges.

Three Court of Appeal judges will consider an appeal from Archie's parents Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, who have mounted an appeal bid after a High Court judge ruled that doctors could lawfully stop treatment.

Archie suffered “catastrophic” brain damage in an accident at home three months ago.

Sir Andrew McFarlane – the president of the Family Division of the High Court and the most senior family court judge in England and Wales, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Peter Jackson are listed to consider arguments at a Court of Appeal hearing in London on Thursday.

Mr Justice Hayden delivered a ruling on Friday after reviewing evidence at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

He described what happened to Archie as a “tragedy of immeasurable dimensions”, but said medical evidence was “compelling and unanimous” and painted a “bleak” picture.

Mr Justice Hayden heard how Ms Dance found Archie unconscious with a ligature over his head on 7 April. She thinks he may have been taking part in an online challenge.

The youngster has not regained consciousness.

Doctors treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, think he is “brain-stem dead” and say continued life support treatment is not in his best interests.

Archie’s parents disagree and say his heart is beating. They are being supported by a campaign group called the Christian Legal Centre.

Lawyers representing the Royal London Hospital’s governing trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, had asked for decisions about what medical moves are in Archie’s best interests.

Archie Battersbee’s mother Hollie Dance and family friend Ella Carter, outside the High Court during an earlier hearing Credit: right

Another High Court judge, Mrs Justice Arbuthnot, initially considered the case.

She concluded, after an earlier hearing, that Archie was dead.

But Court of Appeal judges upheld a challenge by Archie’s parents against decisions taken by Mrs Justice Arbuthnot and said the evidence should be reviewed.

Mr Justice Hayden said evidence shows Archie suffered a “significant injury” to “multiple areas” of his brain and had not “regained awareness at any time”.

He said the reality of Archie’s case was “terrible”.

Archie with his brother Tom in hospital in London. Credit: Hollie Dance

“There is unfortunately no treatment possible to reverse the damage that has been caused to Archie’s brain,” he said. “There can be no hope at all of recovery.”

The judge said he reached his conclusion with “profound regret”.

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said: “This family have fought courageously to get to this point in taking a stand for Archie’s life.

“We continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with them as they appeal this ruling.”

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