Prohibition on assisting a suicide is interference with rights of severely disabled people, UK Supreme Court is told

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 18 December 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f7589
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1BMJ

A builder who was left quadriplegic after a car crash 23 years ago and the widow of a man with locked-in syndrome who died last year after losing his case in the Court of Appeal took their right to die case to the United Kingdom’s highest court this week.

Paul Lamb and Jane Nicklinson, widow of Tony Nicklinson, argued that UK law that prevents doctors helping disabled people who are suffering unbearably to end their lives breaches the European Convention on Human Rights.

A total of nine judges heard the case in the Supreme Court, a measure of the difficulty and sensitivity of the issues confronting the court. Most cases are heard by a panel of only five judges, and more important cases usually by seven.

The issue is whether the right …

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