Tony Nicklinson’s story: Could euthanasia be lawful in some cases in the UK?

A Hight Court will decide if Tony Nicklinson has the right to die.

Question:

How important for the future can be any verdict in this case?

Answer:

Emily Jackson, Professor, Law Department, London School of Economics

Until very recently, it has seemed that the only flexibility the law is capable of exercising when dealing with cases of mercy killing has been to find a way to downgrade the charge from murder to one, like manslaughter or attempted murder, where there can be some discretion in sentencing, or alternatively for juries to use their power to refuse to convict. Tony Nicklinson is seeking a declaration that it would not be unlawful, on the grounds of necessity, for his GP or another doctor, to terminate or assist the termination of his life. If granted, this would be a dramatic legal change.  Some would say it’s for parliament not the courts to take such a big step, and this may be what the judge decides. A decision for Tony Nicklinson would be a radical step, and would essentially mean that there might be cases in the UK in which euthanasia could be lawful.

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One Response

  1. Instead of a focus on the “Right to Die” how about people, nations and governments focus on healing and life affirming measures.

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