issued by the Registrar of the Court
European Court continues to grant request for an interim measure in Charlie Gard case
Today, the European Court of Human Rights decided to continue to indicate to the United Kingdom Government that they should provide Charlie Gard, a baby suffering from a rare genetic disease, 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.
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 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 applicants have not at this stage submitted a full, substantive application – the request was for an interim measure only. On Friday 9 June the Court initially granted the interim measure in the application Gard and Others v. the UK (no. 39793/17) in order to allow the European Court to examine the request in a Chamber formation of seven judges (see link to press release).
The Chamber has now given detailed consideration to the Rule 39 request and considers that serious and irreparable harm may occur if it lifts its Rule 39 indication before the Court can examine any application which may be submitted in this case.
At this stage in the procedure, the Court cannot prejudice any decision that it may ultimately make on the substance of the case. Therefore, in the interests of the parties and the proper conduct of the proceedings before it, it has indicated to the Government to prolong the application of the interim measure of 9 June 2017 until its decision on any substantive application that may be submitted. In the event that no substantive application is submitted, the interim measure shall be maintained until midnight on Monday 19 June 2017.
It has also been decided under Rule 331 that the documents in the case file should not be accessible to the public.
What are interim measures?
The Court may, under Rule 39 of its Rules of Court, indicate interim measures to any State party to the Convention. Interim measures are urgent measures which, according to the Court’s well- established practice, apply only where there is an imminent risk of irreparable harm. Such measures are decided in connection with proceedings before the Court, without prejudging any subsequent decisions on the admissibility or merits of the case in question. The Court grants such requests only on an exceptional basis, when the applicants would otherwise face a real risk of irreversible harm. For further information, see the Factsheet on interim measures.
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1 Under Rule 33 § 2 of the Rules of Court, public access to a document or to any part of it may be restricted in the interests of morals, public order or national security in a democratic society, where the interests of juveniles or the protection of the private life of the parties or of any person concerned so require, or to the extent strictly necessary in the opinion of the President of the Chamber in special circumstances where publicity would prejudice the interests of justice.
The European Court of Human Rights was set up in Strasbourg by the Council of Europe Member States in 1959 to deal with alleged violations of the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights.