Court of Appeal decisions on assisted suicide cases

The ProLife Alliance welcomes the decisions on the Tony Nicklinson and Paul Lamb cases in the Court of Appeal.

All three judges, Lord Judge (the Lord Chief Justice), Lord Dyson (the Master of the Rolls) and Lord Justice Elias, dismissed the argument that 'necessity' should be a defence in euthanasia cases, which would in effect have changed the law about murder so as to allow doctors to kill disabled patients . They also re-affirmed that the blanket prohibition on assisted suicide in the UK is not contrary to Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

In the Martin case, two of the judges said that the DPP's prosecution guidelines about healthcare workers providing help towards  assisted suicide abroad should be made clearer, though the senior judge disagreed, and the law itself is not affected by this.

However sympathetic the general public is to the very rare hard cases which are given so much publicity, it remains true that disability rights groups are strongly opposed to any watering down of the law which at present protects the lives of so many vulnerable people. The truly compassionate response to the suffering is to make sure that all receive the excellent palliative care that is given in the best hospices.