Alfie Evans' parents pin hopes on European Court of Human Rights

European human rights judges are considering a plea from the parents of 23-month-old Alfie Evans who has been at the centre of two rounds of a life-support treatment fight.

Tom Evans and Kate James, who are both in their early 20s and from Liverpool, failed on Friday to persuade Supreme Court justices to consider their case.

They have now asked judges at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg, France, to intervene.

Alfie's parents, Kate James and Tom Evans, are asking the European Court of Human Rights to hear their case (Philip Toscano/PA)
Alfie's parents, Kate James and Tom Evans, are asking the European Court of Human Rights to hear their case (Philip Toscano/PA)

A spokesman for the ECHR said on Monday that the couple were arguing that their son was being "deprived" of his liberty.

He said judges were considering the couple's application as a matter of "urgency".

Alfie's parents have already lost one round of fights, in the High Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and ECHR.

Balloons and candles in support of Alfie Evans outside Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool (John Stilwell/PA)
Balloons and candles in support of Alfie Evans outside Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool (John Stilwell/PA)

In February, Mr Justice Hayden ruled that doctors at Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool could stop treating Alfie against the wishes of his parents following hearings in the Family Division of the High Court in London and Liverpool.

Specialists at Alder Hey said life-support treatment should stop and Mr Justice Hayden said he accepted medical evidence which showed that further treatment was futile.

Alfie's parents want to move their son from Alder Hey to a hospital in Rome.

The couple said Italian doctors are willing to treat the little boy and an air ambulance is available.

But Mr Justice Hayden said flying Alfie to a foreign hospital would be wrong and pointless.

Alfie Evans is terminally ill (Alfies Army Official/PA)
Alfie Evans is terminally ill (Alfies Army Official/PA)

Court of Appeal judges upheld his decisions.

Supreme Court justices and ECHR judges refused to intervene.

The couple are now arguing that Alfie is being wrongly "detained" at Alder Hey and have made a habeas corpus application.

A writ of habeas corpus - Latin for "you may have the body" - is a legal manoeuvre which requires a court to examine the legality of a detention.

It is a piece of common law which probably dates back to Anglo-Saxon times.

Mr Justice Hayden has dismissed that habeas corpus claim.

The front cover of the ruling by Supreme Court president Lady Hale, Lord Kerr and Lord Wilson in the latest round of the legal fight for the treatment of 23-month-old Alfie Evans (Supreme Court/PA)
The front cover of the ruling by Supreme Court president Lady Hale, Lord Kerr and Lord Wilson in the latest round of the legal fight for the treatment of 23-month-old Alfie Evans (Supreme Court/PA)

Appeal judges have upheld Mr Justice Hayden's decision and on Friday Supreme Court justices said they would not intervene.

Judges have approved plans for withdrawing treatment and bringing Alfie's life to an end.

On Friday Supreme Court justices said there should be no further delay in treatment being stopped.

But Alfie's parents made another application to the ECHR.

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