Courts Split Over Assisted Death

Assisted death is a controversial subject which brings rise to many differing opinions in society. There have been a number of high profile cases going through the courts asking for a ruling on the right to an assisted death, such as Tony Nicklinson who, following a stroke, was completely paralysed. He was denied his request by the courts, after which he refused food and died in August 2012, a week after his High Court appearance.

Tony Nicklinson’s widow Jane decided to appeal the decision by the High Court along with Paul Lamb, who has taken over Tony Nicklinson’s case. Mr Lamb was paralysed in a car accident in 1990 and has been in constant pain, needing 24 hour care since his accident.

His statement to the court said “I feel worn out and am genuinely fed up with my life. I feel I cannot and do not want to keep living. I feel trapped by the situation and have no way out. I am fed up of going through the motions of life rather than living it. I feel enough is enough.

Currently a doctor cannot help anyone to die without facing a murder charge because the current law says it is an offence to encourage or assist a suicide.

However, the Supreme Court now has to decide if the law, which says it is an offence to assist suicide, is actually in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights. Mrs Nicklinson and Mr Lamb are asserting that the current law denies the right to end your life when and how you choose with the help of a medic, if you are unable to do so yourself.

There is a split between the Supreme Court panel currently and although they heard the case from Mrs Nicklinson and Mr Lamb in December 2013, there has still been no ruling. The Supreme Court’s current legal term finished at the end of May, without any judgment in the case in sight.

It is clear that the decision which the Supreme Court is facing, to allow a ‘dignified and humane death’ for people who wish to end their life but cannot do so themselves, is an important one which will take time to reach.

This information provided in this article is not intended to constitute legal advice and each relationship breakdown requires careful consideration in our view by a fully qualified Solicitor before decisions are made and before you embark on a certain course of action.

Shak Inayat
0207 183 2898


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