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Supreme Court says law on assisted dying may change in the future

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g4290 (Published 27 June 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g4290
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1The BMJ

The UK Supreme Court has called on the director of public prosecutions to clarify guidelines on the circumstances in which doctors would be likely to face criminal charges for helping a patient to die, in a landmark judgment on assisted dying.

Nine justices heard challenges to the law by two men who were almost totally paralysed and wanted medical help in ending their lives, and by the widow of a third man who starved himself to death after losing his case in the High Court.

Paul Lamb, who was paralysed from a car crash, and Jane Nicklinson—the widow of Tony Nicklinson, who had locked-in syndrome after a catastrophic stroke—sought declarations that UK law’s ban on assisting a suicide breached their right to respect for their private life under article …

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