A couple who want to take their terminally ill baby son to the United States for treatment have been given more time to mount a fight in the European Court of Human Rights after exhausting legal options in the UK.
Chris Gard and Connie Yates, who are in their 30s and come from Bedfont, west London, want 10-month-old Charlie Gard, who suffers from a rare genetic condition and has brain damage, to undergo a therapy trial in America.
They have asked European Court judges in Strasbourg, France, to consider the case after losing battles in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.
Strasbourg judges say doctors in London should continue providing life support treatment to Charlie until midnight on Monday June 19 to give the couple's lawyers time to submit detailed legal arguments.
''Charlie Gard's parents filed a request for an urgent interim measure with the European Court,'' said a European Court spokeswoman. The applicants have not at this stage submitted a full, substantive application. At this stage in the procedure, the court cannot prejudice any decision that it may ultimately make on the substance of the case.''
Specialists at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, where Charlie is being cared for, say therapy proposed by a doctor in the US is experimental and will not help. They say life support treatment should stop.
— Charlie's fight (@Fight4Charlie) June 13, 2017
Charlie's shop is now live! All proceeds go towards helping Charlie, Connie and Chris! https://t.co/Ohe9eMNIvV— Charlie's fight (@Fight4Charlie) May 6, 2017
A High Court judge in April ruled against a trip to the US and in favour of Great Ormond Street doctors. Mr Justice Francis concluded that life support treatment should end and said Charlie should be allowed to die with dignity.
Three Court of Appeal judges upheld that ruling in May and three Supreme Court justices last week dismissed a further challenge by the couple.
Mr Justice Francis had made a ruling after a trial in the Family Division of the High Court in London.
He heard that Charlie, who was born on August 4 last year, had a form of mitochondrial disease, a condition which causes progressive muscle weakness and brain damage.
Specialists in the US have offered a therapy called nucleoside.
Lawyers representing Charlie's parents say parents should be free to make decisions about their children's treatment unless any proposed treatment poses a risk of significant harm.