Thoughts of the day- the powers of the courts vs the rights of parents. 12th August
I may have previously mentioned that I want to study law at university and so I thought I could discuss the legal case of Charlie Gard.
This is inspired by the incredibly sad case of Charlie Gard who recently died after courts including the court of appeal and European court of human rights were unwilling to help Charlie go to America for experimental treatment. Charlie had a very rare disease called infantile onset encephalomyopathy mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome (MDDS) which causes progressive muscle weakness and brain damage.
Charlie’s parents wanted to take him to America to see specialists offering experiential therapy called nucleoside with a crowdfunding page being set up to fund it. Charlie’s parents raised the money but were could not go because of the courts. The courts tried to use the argument of Charlie having a low quality of life which might be true but they left him for a long period of time without the treatment which could have helped him.
The powers of the parents over their children
The 1989 children act was pioneering in changing the legal relationship between parents and their children. It no longer concentrated on centrally the rights of the parents but also their responsibilities to the child. Responsibilities include looking after the well being of the child which Charlie’s parents tried to do. Also deciding whether to consent to medical treatment or not which Charlie’s parents were not allowed to do because of the courts. Thanks to the children’s act, there is a large checklist the courts have to discuss to make sure they are making the right decision for the child.
1998 human rights act which states that all people (even under 18) have the right to be protected from inhumane treatment. Although Charlie’s parents were trying to protect him from further suffering through the experimental treatment, the courts tried to argue that the treatment would not improve his quality of life and he would continue to have a low quality of life.
However, Charlie’s parents should have been given more control over his future, they clearly cared incredibly about him; they had done the research to find out about the experimental treatment. The doctors themselves didn’t know what the experimental treatment could have achieved. The long legal battle itself meant that Charlie’s condition deteriorated so much he couldn’t have the treatment anyway.
The powers of the courts.
In some cases children’s care is given to local authorities if the parents are not caring for them properly, however Charlie’s parents were trying to care for him properly, the courts disagreed with their course of action. The parents should have the right to help their children if they are not harming them surely, as the child cannot give consent it should be the parents who make the decision.
In some ways the court is not the right setting for such a personal matter, the fact that the case was played out in the media made it all the more heartbreaking.
The courts believed that there was a low chance of the experimental treatment working and so they could not take him to America, even the European court of human rights agreed with this decision. Charlie was born on the 4th August 2016 died on the 28th July 2017, I hope Charlie rests in peace and his parents can be supported through a heart breaking time.
If anyone would like to discuss this case in the comments or even with me personally feel free. I think this is a very upsetting case which needs to raise awareness of various issues. Sending everyone good vibes 🕊⭐️
Also, let me know if you guys would like a results day ‘survival guide’ on the 16th? 💭🕊 new posts on Wednesdays and Saturdays for the rest of August ✨