Britain’s Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal by campaigners to have assisted suicide pronounced a human right. The appeal was made by the family of Tony Nicklinson, an assisted suicide advocate who died in 2013.
Britain’s Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal by campaigners to have assisted suicide pronounced a human right. The appeal was made by the family of Tony Nicklinson, an assisted suicide advocate who died in 2013. Nicklinson’s family asked the court to rule that the current state of assisted suicide law was incompatible with article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (which stipulates that all human beings have a right to “a private life”).
The court ruled that it had jurisdiction to make the desired declaration, but that nevertheless it was more appropriate for the UK parliament to make such a statement. Lord Neuberger, president of the court, stated in his judgement, “On the basis of the arguments and evidence which have been put before the Court, there would have been too many uncertainties to justify our making a declaration of incompatibility.”
Nevertheless, Neuberger warned that if parliament failed to consider the matter in the near future, there was “real prospect” of a successful future legal challenge. “It is a very positive step”, said Jane Nicklinson. “Parliament will have to discuss this”.
Dr Andrew Fergusson, of Care Not Killing, welcomed the decision. “The law in England and Wales remains unchanged, with the Court recognizing that it exists to protect vulnerable, elderly and disabled people. This is why Parliament has debated and repeatedly voted against changing the law in recent years.”
Supreme Court withholds judgement on assisted suicide as a human right
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