The second most senior family court judge in England and Wales is preparing to analyse the latest stage of the Alfie Evans life-support treatment dispute.
Sir Andrew McFarlane, who in July will become the new president of the Family Division of the High Court, will head a panel of three Court of Appeal judges due to hear arguments about the 23-month-old at a hearing in London on Wednesday afternoon.
Judicial heads announced earlier this week that Sir Andrew, currently Lord Justice McFarlane, would take over from Sir James Munby as the most senior family court judge in England and Wales.
Alfie’s parents, Tom Evans and Kate James, who are both in their early 20s and from Liverpool, are appealing against a ruling made by a High Court judge late on Tuesday.
They want to move Alfie from Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool to a hospital in Rome.
Mr Justice Hayden decided, at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in Manchester, that Alfie should not be allowed to travel to Italy.
Doctors stopped provided life-support treatment to Alfie late on Monday.
Mr Evans said his son had confounded specialists’ expectations by continuing to breathe.
Alfie’s parents have already lost two rounds of fights, in the High Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and European Court of Human Rights.
In February, Mr Justice Hayden ruled that doctors at Alder Hey 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.
Mr Justice Hayden said flying Alfie to a foreign hospital would be wrong and pointless.
Court of Appeal judges upheld his decisions.
Supreme Court justices and ECHR judges refused to intervene.
The couple then alleged that Alfie was being wrongly “detained”.
Mr Justice Hayden dismissed that claim.
Appeal judges have upheld Mr Justice Hayden’s decision and Supreme Court justices and ECHR judges said they would not intervene.
Mr Justice Hayden then finalised plans for withdrawing treatment and allowing Alfie’s life to end.
Judicial heads announced earlier this week that Sir Andrew would take over from Sir James Munby, who is retiring, as the most senior family court judge in England and Wales in a few months’ time.