Archie Battersbee case: European court rules against intervening in UK boy’s right to life case


The request of 12-year-old Archie Battersbee’s parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, to intervene in a decision to remove life support was rejected by Europe’s human rights court.

Following unsuccessful appeals at Britain’s highest courts for the child to continue receiving treatment, Battersbee’s parents went to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

Highlighting that such requests were only granted on an “exceptional basis”, the Strasbourg-based ECHR said that the application was “inadmissible”.

After taking part in an online asphyxiation challenge, Archie was found unconscious at home in April with signs he had placed a ligature over his head.

As doctors believe he is brain-stem dead, UK courts ruled that ending life-preserving treatment for Archie was in his best interests.

Rejecting their appeal saying there was “no prospect of any meaningful recovery”, the Supreme Court judges said they had “great sympathy” with Archie’s parents.

This is not the first case that has pitted parents against Britain’s court and healthcare systems as 23-month-old Alfie Evans died in April 2018 following a highly charged battle between the hospital and his parents.

After doctors withdrew life support, Charlie Gard died one week short of his first birthday due to a rare form of mitochondrial disease that causes progressive muscle weakness.

While it is common for British courts to intervene when parents and doctors disagree on the treatment of a child, the rights of the child take primacy over the parents’ right to decide what’s best for their offspring.

(With inputs from agencies)

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