Published by BBC NEWS - 29th June 2022
  • Published
Hollie Dance with her son ArchieImage source, Hollie Dance

The parents of a 12-year-old boy at the centre of a life support dispute have won an appeal for his case to be heard again.

Archie Battersbee was found unconscious at his home in Southend, Essex, on 7 April.

A High Court judge previously ruled Archie was dead and told doctors they could end his life support treatment.

The Court of Appeal has ordered a new hearing at the High Court to determine if it is in Archie’s best interests.

Archie suffered brain damage during an incident which his mother believed may have been related to an online challenge.

Edward Devereux QC, who is leading Archie’s parents’ legal team, told three appeal judges: “The case should be remitted for consideration by a High Court judge who should consider whether it is in Archie’s best interests for life-sustaining treatment to continue.”

He said a previous hearing had focused on declaration of death.

Doctors treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital previously told the High Court it was “highly likely” he was “brain-stem dead”.

Archie’s parents Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee have disagreed with the hospital, saying his heart was still beating and they wanted treatment to continue.

‘No room for question marks’

The family’s legal team argued that Mrs Justice Aburthnot, at the High Court, had made errors and that the family and Archie’s beliefs had not been given enough weight in her decision-making.

Lawyers for Barts Health Trust, which runs the hospital, argued previous hearings and the judge’s ruling had dealt with best interest considerations.

Mr Deveraux said in this case of such “gravity” there “cannot be room for question marks”.

Archie Battersbee

Image source, Hollie Dance

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, ruled that a new hearing should take place.

They made no criticism of Mrs Justice Arbuthnot and indicated that they would give reasons for their decision at a later date.

A new hearing in the family division of the High Court has been set for 11 July.

Speaking after the hearing, Archie’s mother Ms Dance said: “We’re delighted. We wanted another hearing and we’ve got everything we wanted.”

“It couldn’t really have gone any better today,” Mr Battersbee added.

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