Strasbourg grants emergency hearing in Charlie Gard appeal

Yates v United Kingdom – here

Update: On 19 June the parents lodged a substantive application with the Strasbourg Court. 

In my last post on this case, I explained that the Supreme Court had granted a short stay to 5pm Friday 9th June to enable the parents to ask the Strasbourg Court to intervene. So far, the courts have ruled in favour of Great Ormond Street’s application to withdraw artificial ventilation from Charlie.

Shortly after my post, on Friday 9 June, the ECtHR ordered an emergency hearing. To that end, it requested the UK to keep Charlie alive until the end of 13 June.

As the ECtHR website tells us – here – , the Strasbourg judges made the request

in the interests of the parties and the proper conduct of the proceedings before it

and they have asked the UK to provide Charlie

with such treatment and nursing care as may be appropriate to ensure that he suffers the least distress and retains the greatest dignity consistent, insofar as possible, with maintaining life until midnight on Tuesday 13 June 2017.

The parents’ advisers had thought ahead. On 6 June 2017, and in anticipation of an adverse decision by the Supreme Court, the parents had filed an application for urgent interim measures under Rule 39 of the ECtHR procedure. See here for ECHR guidance on what you need for such an application.

The Strasbourg Court, showing considerable willing, had said that it would respond to a request from the parents within 24 hours of any ruling by the Supreme Court against the parents, hence the expiry time of the Supreme Court’s stay at the end of Friday.

Urgent interim measures are granted in exceptional circumstances when the applicants can convince the court that they would otherwise face an imminent risk of irreversible harm.

The application, seeking to invoke the parents’ Article 8 rights, will be considered next week  by a panel of seven judges. A decision to grant interim measures does not affect any subsequent decisions on admissibility or merits.