British courts give green light for assisted dying case
Sunday, January 29, 2012
Lawyers acting for a stroke victim in Britain have been given approval by the High Court in London to prepare a case asking for judicial review of the guidance on prosecution for assisted suicide released in 2009 by , the (DPP). The claimant seeking judicial review—known only as 'Martin'—is a man in his mid forties with locked-in syndrome and can only communicate by eye movements. He believes his life to be "undignified and intolerable", and he is completely dependent on his wife and full-time carers.
The court granted Martin's lawyers the right to gather information from third parties includingin order to prepare the case without risking prosecution. Lawyers acting on Martin's behalf also claim that this will allow doctors to advise Martin on assisted dying. Rosa Curling, a lawyer with the firm representing Martin, , said: "We can instruct doctors to advise him on his options regarding his wish to die and also take steps to identify an individual who might be willing to assist him in taking his life." While relatives are unlikely to be prosecuted for assisting suicide under current guidelines, Martin has none willing to assist his.
Lord Justice Toulson, one of the two judges who heard the application, said that the case "raises thorny legal and ethical issues". The judicial review is brought on the basis that the DPP failed to consider patients in situations like that of the claimant in drafting the advice. Martin hopes that the case could lead to the DPP modifying the guidance on prosecution.
- Key step in fight for right to die" — , January 28, 2012. "
- "Right-to-die man wins first step in legal battle" — , January 27, 2012
- "UK court says lawyers can help right-to-die man" — , January 27, 2012
- Lawyers in right-to-die case can act without fear of prosecution" — , January 27, 2012. "
- John Bingham. "Stroke victim wins approval to get help to end his life" — , January 27, 2012
- "Assisted suicide guidelines laid out by Director of Public Prosecutions" — , September 23, 2009