Comment on Tony Nicklinson and Martin’s cases in IBTimes

I wrote a short comment for the International Business Times on the Nicklinson and Martin cases.

It argues that ‘Parliament, in particular the elected House of Commons, has failed to grasp the assisted dying nettle’. This is largely because of the substantial political risk entailed in supporting assisted dying in the face of the vulnerability objection, which asserts,

while assisted dying might benefit some people, such as Tony Nicklinson, Martin, Debbie Purdy and Dianne Pretty, it will lessen the protection afforded to ‘vulnerable’ members of society. Therefore, by active or passive pressure, the vulnerable will request assistance to die against their wishes or interests, and no legal regime can provide adequate safeguards against this.

This is notwithstanding that ‘the evidence suggests that it is possible to institute safeguards around the practice of assisted dying’. I conclude by submitting that,

‘With respect, the judiciary would do well to stop looking to Parliament for legal change on assisted dying, and consider whether they can effect it themselves.’

You can access the briefing paper on ‘The Effectiveness of Legal Safeguards in Jurisdictions that Allow Assisted Dying’ that Penney Lewis and I wrote for the Commission on Assisted Dying and consider for yourselves whether it would be possible to implement a regulatory regime for assisted dying, whether by statute or court decision.


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