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Gard and Yates v GOSH, the Guardian and the UK formatted revised.pdf (436.42 kB)

Gard and Yates v GOSH, the Guardian and the UK: reflections on the legal process and the legal principles

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-09, 08:00 authored by Jo BridgemanJo Bridgeman
In this commentary I examine the litigation over the medical treatment of Charlie Gard from the High Court in April 2017 to the European Court of Human Rights and back to the High Court in July 2017. As is usual in cases of conflict between parents and clinicians over a child’s medical treatment, referred to court for determination, at the heart of the dispute were sincerely and strongly held differences of opinion as to what was best for Charlie. The process of trying to convince Charlie’s parents of the futility of their hope was prolonged by the legal process as the case proceeded through the appeal stages with the view of the treating clinicians agreed by the judge prevailing each time. In the July hearing, after the appeal process had been exhausted, Francis J made great efforts to resolve the dispute and mediate the conflict, whilst retaining judicial authority, but by this time the relationship between the parents and hospital was irretrievably broken. The protracted legal process was traumatic for Charlie’s parents, stressful for Charlie’s clinicians and nurses and required the judiciary to authorise his continued ventilation when it had been concluded that this was contrary to Charlie’s best interests. I argue that this case demonstrates clearer than any before that a comprehensive review is required of the principles and processes applicable to disputes over children’s medical treatment.


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