Opinion Former Article

BHA: Court of appeal decision due over L's right to die

The court of appeal will decide today at 2pm whether a man called 'L' can take over the late Tony Nicklinson's claim to establish the right to die. 'L' who is immobile after an accident in 1990 feels that he is trapped in his body, cannot enjoy or endure a life that is so monotonous and painful and lacking in autonomy. 'L' wishes a doctor to end his life and seeks the same declaration originally sought by Tony Nicklinson in the legal proceedings. The British Humanist Association have intervened in and are supporting both claims.

The Court may order that a ‘L’ may be added as a new party to proceedings under Civil Procedure Rules where it is desirable to add the new party so that the court can resolve all the matters in dispute in the proceedings. The Divisional Court was fully seized of the necessity argument and gave judgment on it. It was only because of Tony Nicklinson’s death that the argument was not pursued on appeal.

Andrew Copson, Chief Executive of the BHA commented 'We hope today that the court will recognise the importance of allowing 'L' to be joined to the case so that the necessity argument can be heard on appeal.

'Mentally competent adults should be able to make decisions about their lives, as long as they do not result in harm to others.  In cases where a patient is suffering incurably, is permanently incapacitated, and has made a clear and informed decision to end their life but is unable to do so independently, the law should allow a doctor to intervene. We are intervening in these cases in the hope to establish this through the court'

Notes
For further comment or information contact Pavan Dhaliwal, Head of Public Affairs at pavan@humanism.org.uk or on 0773 843 5059.

Information on 'L' claim

http://www.bindmans.com/news-and-events/news-article/hearing-today-to-decide-if-tony-nicklinsons-claim-can-continue

Previous media coverage of Tony Nicklinson’s legal case:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2161494/Tony-Nicklinson-euthanasia-My-life-miserable-undignified-says-locked-syndrome-sufferer.html
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/jun/19/locked-in-syndrome-murder-law?newsfeed=true
http://www.channel4.com/news/tony-nicklinson-takes-right-to-die-case-to-high-court

The Channel 4 Dispatches programme:

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/episode-guide/series-113/episode-1

Previous BHA News articles on the issue of assisted dying:

http://www.humanism.org.uk/news/view/1000
http://www.humanism.org.uk/news/view/956
http://www.humanism.org.uk/news/view/604

The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of ethically concerned, non-religious people in the UK. It is the largest organisation in the UK campaigning for an end to religious privilege and to discrimination based on religion or belief, and for a secular state.

Pavan Dhaliwal
Head of Public Affairs, British Humanist Association
39 Moreland Street, London, EC1V 2BB | 020 7324 3065 | 0773 843 5059

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