Assisted dying

As part of the reordering of our Home Page, this is an index of the posts on L&RUK concerning assisted dying which we have covered since 2012.



General

2012 and 2013: retrospect and prospect, Assisted Dying, (1 January 2013).

Has assisted suicide really moved a significant step closer? Rebuttal of headlines in Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail. (14 March 2014).

British Religion in Numbers, (BRIN)*: Summarizes data from surveys on: Britons on Christianity in the public square, including Britons on assisted dying, (19 April 2015).

Church Statement on Assisted Suicide Bill: Statement from Church of England, (16 July 2015).

London Review of Books:The Right to Die: Retired Lord Justice of Appeal Sir Stephen Sedley speculates on the likely progress (or otherwise) of Rob Marris’s Assisted Dying Bill. (9 August 2015).

Humanist Society Scotland publishes Religion in Scots Law:  (29 February 2016).

“Just a Minute” in the Lords: Short debate on assisted dying in the Lords on 6 June, (12 March 2017).

Michael Sadgrove, Woolgathering in North East England:Assisted Dying: “Compassion is not a Crime”: “I hope to be able to make the decision, while I am of sound mind, to ask, if I need it, to be helped across that final threshold with dignity and grace.” (6 July 2019).

Royal College of Physicians to poll on assisted dying: The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) announcement on a forthcoming poll on assisted dying. (14 January 2019).

Assisted dying and the Royal College of General Practitioners: The Royal College of General Practitioners will continue to oppose a change in the law on assisted dying. (23 February 2020).

Lord Carey of Clifton, Daily Telegraph (£)Time for a government inquiry into assisted dying: on the Letters page – scroll down. (6 March 2020).

Assisted dying and the Royal College of Physicians: Press Statement. RCP clarifies its position on assisted dying. (26 March 2020).

Jersey may legalise assisted dyingIt is likely that Jersey will legalise assisted dying after a citizens’ jury convened on the issue voted with 78 per cent in favour of a change in the law. (4 July 2020).

Rowan Williams, The Telegraph (£): You do not have to be religious to oppose legalising assisted dying: in the week in which the BMA moved from outright opposition to neutrality. (13 September 2021).

Jonathan Chaplin, Theos: Democratic deliberation and deep diversity: “What it would take to debate assisted dying honestly”. (30 September 2021).

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UK Parliament

Assisted Dying: Round-up 12th May 2013. Lord Falconer’s proposed Private Member’s Bill, (10 May 2013).

Assisted Dying,: Round-up 19th May 2013. Introduction of Lord Falconer’s Bill, and summary of Ross v Switzerland [2013] ECHR 429.  (19 May 2013).

Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill: Lord Falconer’s current Assisted Dying Bill [HL Bill 6, 2014-15] received its first reading in the House of Lords on 5 June [HL Hansard 5 Jun 2014 Vol  754 Column 21] and is scheduled for its second reading on 18 July. (16 July 2014).

Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill: second reading. The Assisted Dying Bill [Lords] was given a second reading without division and committed to a Committee of the whole House. It is impossible to do full justice to a debate that was both serious and measured and, occasionally, quite harrowing as several contributors recounted their own experiences of the death of close family members. It was also a marathon by the standards of a normal private Peers’ Friday: following are some snippets. The full Hansard text is here. (19 July 2014).

Assisted dying: Religion and law round-up – 9th November, Amendments to Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill, (9 November 2014).

Elizabeth Wicks: Dying with Conscience: The Potential Application of Article 9 ECHR to Assisted Dying, The potential application of Article 9 ECHR’s protection for freedom of thought, conscience and religion to the issue of assisted dying; an analysis of the applicability of the right to manifest a belief to individual non-religious beliefs such as a desire to ‘die with dignity’, (16 November 2014).

Assisted Dying, Religion and Law round-up – 18th January: The Lords considered Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill in Committee for the second day. Peers voted by 180 to 107 against changing the wording of the Bill from “assisted dying” to “assisted suicide”, (18 January 2015).

Assisted dying: Rob Marris, Labour Member for Wolverhampton South West, came top of the Commons ballot for private Members’ bills and decided to introduce an Assisted Dying Bill, (14 June 2015).

Assisted Dying Bill defeated by substantial majority: Defeat of the Assisted Dying Bill at Second reading. Rob Marris’ Private Member’s Bill – the Assisted Dying (No. 2) Bill – was presented to Parliament through the ballot procedure on 24 June 2015 and given its second reading in the House of Commons on Friday 11 September. (11 September 2015).

Assisted Dying: Lords Debate: Further parliamentary debate on assisted dying: On 6 March 2017, the House of Lords held a short debate on assisted dying. Baroness Jay of Paddington asked Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they had made of recent legislation on assisted dying in North America; and whether those laws provide an appropriate basis for legislation in England and Wales. (9 March 2017).

Roman Catholic Bishops of England and Wales issue pastoral letter on the General Election: Scroll down to “Issues on family life”. (15 May 2017).

Church of England: Response to Royal College of Physicians announcement on assisted dying. (24 March 2019).

ECtHR: Guide on Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights (Right to Life): including issues such as assisted dying and withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment. (12 May 2019).

Assisted dying: On Thursday, the Commons debated assisted dying, on a motion proposed by Nick Boles (Grantham and Stamford) (Ind). The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, Edward Argar, reiterated that the Government remained of the view that any changes to the law were an issue of conscience for individual Members: “It remains a matter for this House to decide, not the Government, but a Government must implement and work with whatever this Parliament and future Parliaments decide.” (7 July 2019).

Assisted dying: The Scottish Parliament has opened a public consultation on a proposal for an Assisted Dying for Terminally Ill Adults (Scotland) Bill. It would enable competent adults who are terminally ill to be provided at their request with assistance to end their life. The consultation opened on 23 September and closes on 22 December. (3 October 2021).

In the Westminster Parliament, Baroness Meacher’s Assisted Dying Bill is scheduled for its second reading on 22 October. A copy of the Bill as introduced is here. (3 October 2021).

Assisted Dying Bill (England & Wales): The second reading of Baroness Meacher’s Assisted Dying Bill is scheduled for Friday 22 October. The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Chief Rabbi and the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster have issued a joint Press Release, reproduced below, which warns of the risk to vulnerable people should Parliament back a new attempt to change the law on assisted suicide. Links to the information on Physician-assisted dying, including its comparison of the arguments for and against, are also reproduced. (20 October 2021).

Assisted dying Bill: the Government’s position: On Friday, the House of Lords debated the Assisted Dying Bill and, in accordance with long-standing custom, it was given an unopposed second reading. Replying to the debate on behalf of the Government, Lord Wolfson of Tredegar, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice, summed up the Government’s position. (24 October 2021).

Consideration of assisted dying at Westminster: The Health and Care Bill completed its Report stage in the House of Lords on 16 March 2022, during which their Lordships considered Amendment 170 which related to assisted dying. Extracts from the debate are reproduced; these contributions centred on constitutional issues rather than the merits of legislation on assisted dying. This was the fourth (and final) day of the report stage. (18 March 2022).

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Other parliamentary considerations

Scotland

Assisted dying in Scotland: Considerations of the Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill, a Member’s bill brought forward by the Green MSP Patrick Harvie, by the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee. (3 May 2015).

Assisted suicide: In Scotland, on Wednesday MSPs voted against the Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill at Stage 1 by 36 votes to 82, which means that the Bill has fallen. In England and Wales, Lord Falconer of Thoroton announced his intention of reintroducing his Assisted Dying Bill that fell at the Dissolution of Parliament. (31 May 2015).

Guernsey

Assisted dying in Guernsey: On 7 February 2018, seven Members of the States lodged a Requête – P.2018/24 (Deputy St Pier and 6 other Members) relating to assisted dying for future consideration at States Meetings. (22 April 2018).

Guernsey rejects assisted dying: After three days of debate, the Guernsey parliament – the States of Deliberation –  decided decisively against the introduction of the assisted dying regime; however, it agreed to a review of palliative and end-of-life care. (18 May 2018).

Canada

End-of-life care and assisted suicide in Canada: recent developments: (5 September 2013).

Assisted dying in Canada: On Friday the Supreme Court of Canada handed down judgment allowing the appeal in Carter v Canada (Attorney General) 2015 SCC 5 and issued the following declaration, suspended for 12 months, (8 February 2015).

Canada legalises physician-assisted dying: On 17 June 2016, the Senate passed Bill C-14: Medical Assistance in Dying and it has now received Royal Assent. (18 June 2016).

Canada legalises physician-assisted dying: On Friday, Royal Assent was given to Bill C-14: Medical Assistance in Dying which, when it comes into force, will legalise physician-assisted dying in Canada – subject to a set of fairly strict criteria. We noted the news here. (19 June 2016).

Germany

Assisted dying: On Wednesday, Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court [Bundesverfassungsgerichtheld that the general “right of personality” in Art. 2(1) (personal freedoms) of the Basic Law [Grundgesetz], taken in conjunction with Art. 1(1), encompasses the right to a self-determined death. (29 February 2020).

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Case law

Voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide: no change in the law, (16 August 2012). Three judges in the Administrative Court (Toulson LJ, Royce and Macur JJ) have rejected the applications of Mr Tony Nicklinson and an anonymous claimant, “AM” to allow doctors to end their lives without fear of prosecution. In R (Nicklinson) v Ministry of Justice & Ors: R (AM) v DPP and Ors [2012] EWHC 2381 (Admin).

Right-to-die judgment of Appeal Court: Summary: Appeal Court judgment in the “right-to-die” case R (on the application of) Nicklinson and Lamb v Ministry of Justice [2013] EWCA Civ 961. (31 July 2013).

Is there a “right to die” in English law? – R (Nicklinson) v A Primary Care Trust, 2 August 2013.

CPS announces prosecution for assisting suicide, (16 September 2014).

Law & Religion 2014 and 2015: retrospect and prospect – Part IIAssisted dying and Nicklinson, (1 January 2015).

Physician-assisted death in Canada: Carter v Canada (AG): (10 February 2015).

Assisted dying in England and Wales: Following R (Nicklinson) v Ministry of Justice [2014] UKSC 38, the DPP announced a small but significant clarification to the Crown Prosecution Service Policy on cases of encouraging or assisting suicide in relation to the meaning of those “acting in his or her capacity as a medical doctor, nurse, other healthcare professional, a professional carer [whether for payment or not], or as a person in authority, such as a prison officer, and the victim was in his or her care”, introduced following the comments by the Supreme Court. Also, disability rights campaigners Nikki and Merv Kenward were granted the right to challenge these changes. (3 May 2015).

Law and religion round-up – 3rd April: Assisted suicide – again, including Your Death, Your Choice’, a campaign to change the law on assisted dying throughout the UK; and Nicklinson & Lamb v United Kingdom [2015] ECHR 709. (3 April 2016).

Withdrawal of life support and religious belief: St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust v P & Anor, (6 July 2015).

Assisted dying again: R (Conway): By 2:1, the Administrative Court has dismissed the application of Mr Noel Conway for a declaration that s 2(1) of the Suicide Act 1961 breached his human rights under Articles 8(1) and 14 ECHR.  (3 April 2017).

Assisted dying: appeal allowed in R (Conway): In R (Conway) v Secretary of State for Justice [2017] EWCA Civ 275, McFarlane and Beatson LJJ concluded that permission to appeal and permission to apply for judicial review should be granted, and they remitted the matter to the Divisional Court to hear and determine the case. (13 April 2017).

The “right to die”: Noel Conway’s judicial review of the law on assisted dying,  7R (Conway) v Secretary of State for Justice [2017] EWCA Civ 275. (28 May 2017).

“Assisted dying” and Article 8 again – Conway v S of S for Justice: In R (Conway) v The Secretary of State for Justice [2017] EWHC 2447 (Admin), Sales LJ and Whipple and Garnham JJ declined to interfere with the prohibition on assisting suicide in section 2 of the Suicide Act 1961, as amended by the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 (“section 2”). (5 October 2017).

Assisted dying: Noel Conway loses his appeal:  In R (Conway) v Secretary of State for Justice [2017] EWHC 640 (Admin), on a split decision, the Divisional Court refused his application to bring judicial review proceedings. In R (Conway) v The Secretary of State for Justice & Ors [2018] EWCA Civ 1431, he was again unsuccessful. (28 June 2018).

Assisted dying: In R (Conway) v The Secretary of State for Justice & Ors [2018] EWCA Civ 1431, the appellant, Mr Noel Conway, who has Motor Neurone Disease, wishes to be assisted to end his life at some point while he still has the capacity to make the decision. He lost his appeal: we noted the judgment here.(1 July 2018).

Withdrawal of clinically assisted nutrition and hydration: An NHS Trust v Y The Supreme Court has ruled that it is no longer necessary for NHS Trusts to seek the permission of the Court of Protection in order to withdraw Clinically Assisted Nutrition and Hydration (CANH) from a patient who has a prolonged disorder of consciousness (PDOC) in circumstances where the clinical team and the family are agreed that it is not in the patient’s best interests to continue with that treatment. (31 July 2018).

Assisted dying: On Tuesday, the Supreme Court refused Mr Noel Conway’s application for permission to appeal against the dismissal of his appeal from the decision of the Divisional Court refusing his application for a declaration that the ban on assisting suicide in s.2(1) of the Suicide Act 1961 is incompatible with his rights under Article 8 ECHR. (2 December 2018).

Assisted dying and Article 2 ECHR: Mortier: Further to the news that the Royal College of Physicians is to poll its members on assisted dying, the issue is also likely to come before the European Court of Human Rights, Mortier c Belgium (Requête no 78017/17) ECHR. (15 January 2019).

Assisted dying in Quebec:In Truchon c Procureur Général du Canada (Quebec Superior Ct, 11 Sept 2019) [in French], a Quebec trial court judge has held that portions of the assisted suicide laws of Canada and of the Province of Quebec are unconstitutional because they are too restrictive. (15 September 2019).

Assisted dying: In R (Newby) v The Secretary of State for Justice [2019] EWHC 3118 (Admin), handed down on Tuesday, the Divisional Court rejected an application for judicial review of assisted dying policy. (24 November 2019).

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L&RUK reviews and updates

Assisted dying – the debate continues: (10 September 2012).

Assisted dying – update: The BBC reports that “Martin”, whose application to the Administrative Court was heard with Tony Nicklinson’s in Nicklinson, R (on the application of) v Ministry of Justice [2012] EWHC 2381 is seeking leave to appeal against the refusal of the Court to grant him an order… (20 September 2012).

Church responds to Assisted Dying Bill Consultation: (19 November 2012).

Opinion polls on assisted dying: pan-European poll on assisted dying has been published recently, and in view of the recent non-governmental consultation Choice at the End of Life. (5 December 2012).

Assisted dying and Dr Carey: Law and Religion round-up, 13 July 2014. Article in Daily Mail in which the former Archbishop indicated that he no longer opposed assisted dying. (13 July 2014).

Assisted suicide: Law and Religion round-up, 20 July 2014. Summary of the legal issues associated with Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill and comments on ComRes poll. (20 July 2014).

Debbie Purdy, Religion and Law round-up – 4th January, (4 January 2015).

Religion and law round-up – 13th September: Including:  Assisted Dying (No. 2) Bill; More on end-of-life issues on In Ross (Re Judicial Review) [2015] CSOH 123; and participation of the Second Church Estates Commissioner took part in the assisted dying debate in the House of Commons. (13 September 2015).

Law and religion round-up – 22nd November: Including: ‘Minimally conscious’ MS sufferer to be allowed to die; and Judicial review of DPP’s assisted suicide policy. (22 November 2015).

Assisted suicide: Round-up16th March 2014. Noting the assertion of the Daily Mail that assisted suicide… could be legal in months”. (16 March 2014).

Review by Stevie Martin, UKHRB: Law and Religion round-up, 26 March 2017. UKHRB, on assisted suicide and the right to private life: the enduring repercussions of Nicklinson: reviews the current state of the law in England & Wales in light of the current judicial review proceedings being brought by Mr Noel Conway. (26 March 2017).

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Cite this article as: David Pocklington, "Assisted dying" in Law & Religion UK, 24 May 2022, https://lawandreligionuk.com/2022/05/24/assisted-dying/

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