Assisted suicide & human rights in the United Kingdom

Yesterday saw the long awaited publication of the United Kingdom Supreme Court decision of R on the application of Nicklinson & Anor v Ministry of Justice [2014] UKSC 38.

The press summary issued by the Court provides a more comprehensive outline than this note, however put briefly the litigation mostly addressed an application by the now deceased Mr Nicklinson (and two  similar matters) for a declaration that it would be lawful for a doctor to kill him or to assist him in terminating his life, or, if that was refused, a declaration that the current state of the law in the United Kingdom was incompatible with his right to a private life under article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Having been unsuccessful in courts below, an appeal to the Supreme Court was lodged.

Nine judges of the Court provided written reasons,the complex issues being carefully outlined in the press summary.

See also the comment by Alexandra Mullock in the BMJ Journal of Medical Ethics blog.