Charlie Gard's parents take case for treatment in US to human rights court

A couple who want to take their terminally ill son to the United States for treatment are expected to spell out their case to the European Court of Human Rights in the next few hours after exhausting all legal options in the UK

 

 Undated family handout file photo of Chris Gard and Connie Yates with their son Charlie Gard. Lawyers representing the couple who want to take their terminally ill son to the United States for treatment and have become embroiled in a legal battle are due to file more papers at the European Court of Human Rights. Image: PRESS ASSOCIATION

Chris Gard and Connie Yates, who are aged in their 30s and from Bedfont, west London, want 10-month-old Charlie Gard, who suffers from a rare genetic condition and has brain damage, to undergo a therapy trial in America.

Specialists at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London, where Charlie is being cared for, say therapy proposed by a doctor in the US is experimental and will not help.

They say life support treatment should stop.

Charlie's parents have asked European court judges in Strasbourg, France, to consider their claims after losing battles in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in London.

A barrister leading the couple's legal team has indicated detailed paperwork will be filed at the Strasbourg court by late afternoon on Monday.

Richard Gordon QC indicated his plans at a hearing in the Supreme Court.

Mr Gordon said European court judges had given lawyers until midnight to spell out details of the couple's case, but he said practically paperwork would be need to be filed by the end of the working day.

Three Supreme Court justices are considering issues relating to the continued provision of life support to Charlie pending any ruling by Strasbourg judges.

Lady Hale, Lord Kerr and Lord Wilson said they will produce a decision relating to how long life support should continue either later on Monday or on Tuesday.

Mr Gordon indicated he will argue in the European court that British Government ministers are in breach of human rights obligations as a result of decisions by judges in London.

He has previously argued parents should be free to make decisions about their children's treatment unless any proposed care poses a risk of significant harm.

At the Court of Appeal hearing, he suggested Charlie's rights to life and liberty might have been breached and his parents' right to respect for family life may have been infringed.

Lawyers representing ministers told Supreme Court justices they would mount a defence.

Barrister James Eadie QC, who led the Government's legal team, said he would argue judges in London made decisions they were entitled to make and human rights legislation had not been breached.

A High Court judge in April ruled against a trip to America and in favour of Great Ormond Street doctors.

Mr Justice Francis concluded life support treatment should end and said Charlie should be allowed to die with dignity.

Three Court of Appeal judges upheld that ruling and three Supreme Court justices dismissed a further challenge by the couple.

Mr Justice Francis made a ruling after a trial in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

He heard Charlie, who was born on August 4 last year, has a form of mitochondrial disease, a condition which causes progressive muscle weakness and brain damage.

Specialists in the US have offered a therapy called nucleoside.

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