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Tafida Raqeeb: Hospital trust should pick up lawyers’ bills for sick five-year-old, judge rules

PUBLISHED: 15:00 06 December 2019

Five-year-old Tafida Raqeeb is in a coma after suffering a brain injury. Picture: Family handout

Five-year-old Tafida Raqeeb is in a coma after suffering a brain injury. Picture: Family handout

Family handout

A hospital trust should pick up some of the bills run up by lawyers representing a severely disabled five-year-old girl who was at the centre of a life support battle, a judge has ruled.

Tafida Raqeeb's parents moved their daughter from the Royal London Hospital to one in Italy in October after winning a High Court fight.

Solicitor Shelina Begum and construction consultant Mohammed Raqeeb, of Upton Park, said life-support treatment should continue.

They also said they should be allowed to move Tafida to a hospital of their choice.

But bosses at the hospital in Whitechapel, where Tafida was being treated, disagreed.

Specialists there said further treatment would be futile because the youngster had permanent brain damage, was in a minimally conscious state and had no chance of recovery.

Mr Justice MacDonald, who analysed evidence at a High Court trial in London, ruled that Tafida could be moved to the Gaslini children's hospital in Genoa.

The judge has now made decisions on who should pick up lawyers' bills.

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Hospital bosses said everyone involved should pay their own costs but lawyers representing Tafida, and her parents, disagreed.

Mr Justice MacDonald said he had analysed two separate applications.

In the first application, lawyers representing Tafida, who took instructions from one of the youngster's relatives, had asked him to review Barts Health NHS Trust's decision to refuse to permit Tafida to travel to Italy for continued life-sustaining treatment.

In the second, trust bosses had also asked him to decide whether it was in Tafida's best interests for her life-sustaining treatment to be withdrawn.

Mr Justice MacDonald said Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs the Royal London Hospital, should pick up 80 per cent of the bills run up by lawyers representing Tafida in the first application.

The judge said everyone should pay for their own lawyers in the second application.

He outlined his thinking in a ruling published on Thursday after analysing written arguments from lawyers representing all sides.

The judge did not say much had been spent on litigation and said costs would have to be assessed.

A Barts Health NHS Trust spokeswoman said: "The judge ruled that the Trust should pay 80 per cent of the costs of Tafida's (but not the parents') legal team in relation to the judicial review. In relation to the separate 'best interests' decision, the judge ruled that each party should pay their own costs."


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