Court Delays Ruling On Brain Tumour Case

The media have recently reported on the sad situation effecting Neon Roberts who was operated on last year which resulted in the successful removal of a tumour.Neon’s mother contacted a family lawyer after having concerns about the potential side effects of treatment that Neon requires and as a result of no agreement being reached; regrettably that decision is to be considered by the court.

The court will consider on the 18th December 2012, whether the mother should be allowed to prevent her 7 year old son from receiving radiotherapy, which she fears will do long term harm. The symptoms of radiotherapy include a variety of short term side effects however a small percentage of patients can develop long term side effects which are as a result of permanent changes to the brain tissue.

At a hearing on Saturday 8th December, Justice Body stated that although he had intended to rule on the matter, unfortunately he was unable to do so as developments had “changed the medical landscape”.

Legal representatives for the health authority and the mother are putting forward different positions, the health authority are stating that without the treatment, the alternative is death. The legal representative for the mother has told the court that it is hoped that there will be much sympathy for mother’s overall position. Robin Tolson QC went on to say that “The mother’s position in this litigation… is principled, reasonable and in the best interests of Neon.”

We await the outcome of the decision by the court in difficult circumstances where the child’s best interests prevail. The court has indicated that the decision needs to be balanced, the effect of the treatment compared to the downsides/effects upon the child.

The courts are normally asked to adjudicate on differing positions of parents under the provisions of specific issues orders within the Children Act. It appears on this occasion the health authority is also involved.  Parents are able to make applications before the court for children to receive medical treatment if the other parent or party with parental responsibility is not in agreement. If a specific issue order is granted it does not give a party a general power, it just makes a decision on one issue over which there is a disagreement.

Forbes Solicitors specialise in family law and can help any family member whether a parent or another member of the family. Legal aid may be available in some cases, we also offer a free initial face to face consultation.

Gill Carr

About Gill Carr

Gill Carr is an Associate Solicitor within the Family department at Forbes Solicitors. Gill’s blogs cover his specialisms of child protection, acting for both parents and children together with family members. Gill also advises and comments upon forced marriage, divorce, separation, child arrangements and financial matters. Gill writes about current legislation and case law relating to family law.
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