Here is a timeline of the tragic case of 12-year-old Archie Battersbee:
– April 7 2022
Archie is found unconscious by his mother, Hollie Dance, at her home in Southend, Essex. He has a ligature around his neck, prompting her to believe he was taking part in an online challenge gone wrong. The boy is taken to hospital with traumatic head injuries.
– April 26
Barts Health NHS Trust, responsible for Archie’s care at the Royal London Hospital, begins High Court proceedings seeking to undertake a test of the brain stem – which is responsible for keeping people alive – and to withdraw mechanical ventilation. They think it “highly likely” the youngster is effectively dead, and say it is in his best interests that life-support treatment should stop. Archie’s parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, raise concerns.
– May 13
High Court Judge Mrs Justice Arbuthnot rules a brain stem test would be in Archie’s best interests.
– May 16
Two specialists attempt a nerve stimulation test on Archie, but no response is detected.
– June 6-8
Mrs Justice Arbuthnot, sitting in the Family Division of the High Court, oversees three days of evidence and argument relating to Archie’s treatment. Doctors think it is “very likely” he is “brain-stem dead”. Lawyers representing Archie’s family say that his heart is still beating and want care to continue.
– June 13
Mrs Justice Arbuthnot rules that Archie is dead and said doctors can lawfully stop treating him. Archie’s family say they plan to appeal.
– June 20
Archie’s parents, Ms Dance and Mr Battersbee, are granted permission to appeal against the decision.
– June 29
At the subsequent hearing, three appeal judges rule that evidence relating to what is in Archie’s best interests should be reconsidered by a different High Court judge. Archie’s parents say they are “delighted” at the decision.
– July 11
High Court judge Mr Justice Hayden hears evidence from doctors that continuing to treat Archie will only “delay the inevitable”. But the boy’s mother says her son is a “natural born fighter” and urges care to continue.
– July 15
Mr Justice Hayden rules in favour of the hospital trust, saying medical evidence was “compelling and unanimous”, and painted a “bleak” picture. He adds: “There can be no hope at all of recovery.” Archie’s parents say they will ask Court of Appeal judges to overturn Mr Justice Hayden’s decision.
– July 21-22
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 told that medical evidence showed that Archie was in a “comatose state” during a two-day hearing.
– July 25
The three Court of Appeal judges rule doctors can lawfully stop providing life-support treatment to Archie. Again, the family announce plans to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.
– July 28
The family fail to persuade the Supreme Court to intervene in the case.
– July 29
Undeterred, the family make a “last-ditch” application to a UN committee to step in.
– July 31
The hospital caring for Archie says his treatment is due to be withdrawn on August 1 at 2pm. However, it is confirmed that the Court of Appeal has granted a virtual hearing for 11am on August 1 after the UK Government asked it to “urgently consider” a request from the UN committee to continue his treatment so the committee could examine his case.
– August 1
The Court of Appeal rejects a request to postpone stopping Archie’s treatment. It says his life-support care will end at midday the following day.
– August 2
Archie’s parents are refused permission to appeal against the latest ruling at the Supreme Court. Ms Dance said Barts Health NHS Trust will begin to withdraw Archie’s life support on August 3 at 11am unless the family have submitted an application to the European Court of Human Rights by 9am that day. The trust will not begin removing life-support until all legal issues have been resolved.
– August 3
The European Court of Human Rights refuses the last-ditch application. Archie’s family say they intend to ask the High Court to allow the schoolboy to be moved to a hospice.
– August 4
Nearly four months after Archie suffered traumatic head injuries, his parents formally lodge High Court proceedings over the move to hospice care – something the hospital opposes. Archie’s care continues.