Guidance on assisted suicide – challenge in High Court

John Aston writes in The Independent – Guidelines on assisted suicide for doctors who may become involved in “right to die” cases will come under attack in the High  court.

Human rights lawyers say the current General Medical Council (GMC) guidance is having “an awful effect on those people who wish to consider end-of-life issues with their doctors”.

end of lifeA 50-year-old-man with locked-in syndrome who wants to be able to end his life is asking judges in London to rule on whether the GMC is breaching his human rights by restricting his ability to receive full and proper medical advice. The man, identified only as “AM” or “Martin”, is almost totally paralysed and unable to speak, say his lawyers. His two-day application for a judicial review of the guidance is being heard by Lord Justice Elias, sitting with Mr Justice Collins.

Law firm Leigh Day, acting for Martin, argues the guidelines disproportionately interfere with his Article 8 “rights to private and family life” under the European Convention on Human Rights. They contend that Article 8 includes the personal right to decide how and when to die.

Rosa Curling, solicitor with Leigh Day, said the guidelines are having a chilling effect on those in the medical profession and preventing them from assisting people such as Martin to make end-of-life choices.

“It will be interesting, to say the least, how these judges will apply a ruling on this issue”

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