Life assurance and consensual death: Law making for the rationally suicidal

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Davey, James ; Coggon, J. (2006)
  • References (56)
    56 references, page 1 of 6

    2 See Christian Medical Fellowship in Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill: Volume II Evidence (HL Paper 86-II, 2005), at p. 675: ''Section [10] . . . will also place huge pressure on patients to request early death in order that their families might benefit from insurance money . . .''. Cf., H. Biggs, ''A Pretty Fine Line: Life Death, Autonomy and Letting it B'' (2003) 11 Feminist Legal Studies 291, 298: ''[H]ow can we be certain that a person is acting autonomously when she is clearly motivated by her perception of the needs of others?''.

    3 See http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4763067.stm.

    4 See Hansard HL Deb. vol. 681 col. 1184 (12 May 2006).

    5 The issues concerning the legalisation of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide have remained in the focus of public debate for some time and will continue to do so, despite the failure of Lord Joffe's Bill. The arguments for and against were previously considered in the Walton Report, Report of the House of Lords Select Committee on Medical Ethics (London 1994). Since then, legalisation of some form of medical killing has been seen in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Oregon. There was also a short-lived statute permitting euthanasia in the Northern Territory in Australia, and some forms of assisted suicide are permissible in Switzerland.

    6 The most recent version put before Parliament was the Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill (9/11/2005, HL), http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200506/ldbills/036/ 2006036.pdf. Much of the parliamentary discussion to date centred on the 2004 version of the Bill, which was the subject of a Select Committee report. See http://www.parliament.uk/ parliamentary_committees/lordsassisted.cfm. Although the clauses of the earlier Bill were renumbered, there were no significant changes for the purposes of this article. References are to the 2005 Bill, unless stated otherwise.

    7 Ibid., cl. 1 seemed to preclude the extension to active euthanasia.

    8 Ibid., cls. 2(2)(b), 2(3)(b), 2(4), and 3.

    9 Ibid., cls. 2(2)(d) and 2(3)(d).

    10 ''Terminal illness'' was defined in ibid., cl. 13(1) as an inevitably progressive illness that may not be reversed by treatment, and will likely result in the patient's death within six months.

    20 See M. Woolf, ''Swiss Suicide Clinic Sees Number of British Clients Rise by 700 per cent''. The Independent, 4 April 2005; M. Horsnell, ''Woman Dies in Assisted Suicide after being Taken to Switzerland'' The Times, 4 December 2004; M. Frith, ''Kennedy Quits Euthanasia Society in Row Over Swiss Suicide Clinic'' The Independent, 20 July 2004. As evidence of judicial reluctance to interfere, at least before the fact, see In re Z (Local Authority: Duty) [2005] 1 W.L.R. 959.

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