Coroner rules that Article 2 is engaged in Archie Batten’s Inquest Proceedings

9th March 2021 – We have previously reported on the case of Archie Batten who tragically died at just 27 minutes of age at the QEQM Hospital Margate back on Sunday 1st September 2019.The East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust admitted liability for having negligently caused Archie’s death back in July of last year.

This still left his ongoing proceedings and we reported yesterday on our having successfully secured pro bono representation for the family, covering the Inquest, from Richard Baker, counsel at 7BR chambers, who will represent the parents free of charge together with Nick Fairweather.

Richard has quickly got to work and filed submissions last week maintaining the family’s argument that Article 2 should apply to these proceedings.

Explaining that the Trust, in their submissions, had applied the wrong legal test, Richard argued that there is a reasonable suspicion that Archie’s death may have been contributed to by systemic failures in the Trust’s maternity services, which deprived him of access to life saving treatment and that the Trust knew or ought to have known about this and failed to undertake the necessary measures to prevent the risk from materialising.

This morning, at the further Pre Inquest Review into the case, HM Assistant Coroner Sonia Hayes agreed with these submissions and ruled, accordingly, that Article 2 is engaged in the case so that the ongoing investigation and final hearing into Archie’s death will be conducted under the wider more extensive requirements imposed by the Article.

Nick Fairweather commented:- “We very much welcome this decision that Archie’s death does, on the face of it, raise an arguable case that Article 2 is engaged. Following the decision of the Strasbourg Court in Lopes the circumstances in which cases can fall to be investigated, under Article, 2 was seen to have been significantly restricted by the ECHR. It is still the case, however, that Article 2 is engaged when there are instances of possible systemic failure meeting the legal tests.
It is the family’s hope that this position is maintained and that the remainder of the investigation and hearing are, indeed, conducted under Article 2 and that the ultimate conclusion is provided under Article 2 as well, covering not only how Archie died in narrow terms but also in what wider circumstances.”

The case is likely to be listed for a final hearing over two weeks from 6 th September.

If you or your family need the assistance of an experienced team of Clinical Negligence Solicitors surrounding an inquest or civil claim then please do not hesitate to phone us free on 0800 999 5585, request a call back or submit your case details.