The European Court of Human Rights indicated to the United Kingdom Government that they should provide Charlie Gard 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.
On Tuesday 6 June 2017, in light of the UK High Court order permitting the withdrawal of Charlie Gard’s artificial ventilation and in anticipation of the decision by the UK Supreme Court of 8 June to reject their appeal, Charlie Gard’s parents filed a request for an urgent interim measure (under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court) with the European Court.
The interim measure granted on Friday 9 June 2017 in the application Gard and Others v. the UK has been applied temporarily in order to allow the European Court to examine the request in a Chamber formation of seven judges.
The Court grants such requests only on an exceptional basis, when the applicants would otherwise face a real risk of irreversible harm.
The Court of Appeal decision was criticised by some lawyers as being a worrying extension of the powers of the state to interfere with parents’ decision making with respect to their own children. However, the courts have over a number of decades shown an increasing willingness to step in and protect the interests of children from the being harmed by decisions made by their parents.
It now looks as through Charlie Gard’s access to life supporting treatment will be decided by The European Court of Human Rights tomorrow.