The family of Archie Battersbee have won their appeal against a High Court decision that said his life support should be removed. The Court of Appeal today overturned the decision that the youngster’s life support be turned off, a decision which has been warmly welcomed by Archie’s ‘delighted’ parents who continue to fight to keep him alive.
“We’re delighted. We wanted another hearing and we’ve got everything we wanted”, mum Hollie Dance said.
Three appeal judges on Wednesday ruled that evidence in relation to what is in Archie’s best interests should be reconsidered by a different High Court judge – after High Court judge Mrs Justice Arbuthnot ruled earlier this month that Archie is “technically dead”.
Mrs Justice Arbuthnot had ruled that Archie died “at noon on May 31 2022” after MRI scans were done, and said that Barts Health NHS Trust can legally withdraw his treatment.
Following that, Archie’s family vowed to challenge the ruling, and his mum, Hollie, claims her son had been “sentenced to death” following the ruling which sparked intense debate and an outpouring of support for the family. Ms Dance has persistently said Archie needs more time to recover, and that it is her “gut instinct” that her son is clinging onto life and is responding to her through gripping her fingers.
In a breakthrough for Archie’s family, the Master of the Rolls (Sir Geoffrey Vos), the President of the Family Division (Sir Andrew McFarlane) and Lady Justice King today ruled that the case should be heard again after the High Court judgement wrongly determined that Archie had already died.
Lawyers representing Ms Dance and Mr Battersbee, of Southend, Essex, argued that Mrs Justice Arbuthnot had made errors. The family’s legal team, led by Edward Devereux QC, argued that the case should be remitted to the High Court so a judge could carry out a more comprehensive analysis of whether it was in Archie’s best interests for life-sustaining treatment to continue.
His case will once again be heard by the High Court on 11 July – with the understanding that the boy, who was reportedly injured in a TikTok challenge over two months ago, remains alive.
Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of the Christian Legal Centre which has been providing support to the family, commented: “The ruling shows the critical importance of never giving up.
“In these difficult moments, nerves and principles are important. This judgment upholds life and will protect many more people from a slippery slope in which the legal definition of death is expanded.
“Where there’s life, there’s hope. We keep praying that Archie will be able to recover, given more time.”
89,000 people have so far added their names to a petition calling for Archie to be given more time on life support.