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Carin Hunt represents Barts Health NHS Foundation Trust and Mid & South Essex NHS Trust in Archie Battersbee inquest

The inquest into the tragic death of Archie Battersbee started on Tuesday 7th February 2023, with Carin Hunt representing Barts Health NHS Trust and Mid & South Essex NHS Trust; the Trusts that operate the hospitals where Archie was treated.

Archie Battersbee was found unconscious at home on 7 April 2022 by his mother. Following treatment at the scene by paramedics he was conveyed to hospital. Sadly, Archie’s doctors suspected brain stem death and applied to court for a declaration that it would be lawful for them to undertake brain stem testing, as Archie’s parents did not want the testing to take place. A lengthy legal dispute in respect of Archie’s treatment ensued.

Pursuant to an order of the court, brain stem testing was attempted but could not be completed for clinical reasons. Absent a definitive outcome of testing, it was appropriate for the court to consider whether it was in Archie’s best interests for treatment to be continued.  In a judgment handed down on 15 July 2022, Hayden J concluded that it was in Archie’s best interests for the “intrusive, burdensome and intensive” treatment to be withdrawn. The appeal of Hayden J’s decision by Archie’s parents was refused by the Court of Appeal and subsequently, by the Supreme Court.

Archie’s parents then applied to the ECHR and sought a stay of Hayden J’s order pending that application, which was refused. The ECHR then refused the parents’ application.

The parents also applied to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which monitors the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the UNCRPD), for a prohibition on the withdrawal of Archie’s treatment. The UN Committee requested that the UK refrain from withdrawing treatment until that application had been considered. However, in a judgment delivered on 1 August 2022, the Court of Appeal dismissed the parents’ application for a further stay in light of the UN Committee’s request for more time. The Court of Appeal observed that the UNCRPD is an unincorporated international treaty, such that the UN Committee’s request that the clinicians refrain from withdrawing treatment did not have any binding effect under domestic law. Further, it would not have been in Archie’s best interests to allow a stay pending the UN Committee resolution of the parents’ application to it.

Archie’s treatment was withdrawn on 6 August 2022. He was declared dead later that same day. 

At the inquest, the coroner heard evidence about the events of 7 April 2022 in order to make determination as to how Archie came to suffer the injuries that led to his death. The inquest ended on 8 February 2022, and the Coroner concluded that Archie died as a result of an accident.

Carin was instructed by Daniel Freeman, partner, at Kennedys.

Find out more

Carin Hunt specialises in clinical negligence, personal injury, court of protection, and public law. She has a Masters in Medical Law and Ethics from King’s College London and has presented academic papers in the fields of Neurolaw, consent systems in organ donation, and the regulation of human reproductive technologies.

Carin regularly represents interested parties at inquests with a healthcare or personal injury element.

To find out more, contact Paul Barton on +44 (0)207 427 4907 or Chris Rowe on +44 (0)207 427 4911 for a confidential discussion.

News 9 Feb, 2023


Carin Hunt

Call: 2018

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