Author: Penney Lewis
Published in Legal Studies, article first published online: 13 October 2010, DOI: 10.1111/j.1748-121X.2010.00184.x
Abstract: Following the House of Lords’ decision in Purdy, the Director of Public Prosecutions issued an interim policy for prosecutors setting out the factors to be considered when deciding whether a prosecution in an assisted suicide case is in the public interest. This paper considers the interim policy, the subsequent public consultation and the resulting final policy. Key aspects of the policy are examined, including the condition of the victim, the decision to commit suicide and the role of organised or professional assistance. The inclusion of assisted suicides which take place within England and Wales makes the informal legal change realised by the policy more significant than was originally anticipated.