Should a person have the choice to live or die? A recent informal debate within the office here at PCB Solicitors LLP highlighted the overall uncertainty on the moral and legal issues surrounding this point.
Is it morally acceptable to turn off a life support machine when a person is in a coma, or when somebody has no quality of life, because of a degenerative illness for example, who may choose to end their own life through assisted dying?
We are all aware of the cases where people are making that extremely difficult decision to end their life through assisted dying and then taking steps to leave the country to do so, because they simply cannot go on and because it is currently illegal to do so in the UK. I am sure that these decisions are not made light heartedly.
The Law Society held a debate on this very topic (“Assisted dying a matter of choice? “On the 3rd of April 2012), where they were to discuss the current state of the law on assisted dying, the principles the law should adopt, the practical aspects that would be necessary to entertain a change in the law and the recommendations of the Report of the Commission on assisted dying and, finally, whether a change in the law would precipitate undesirable attention around the issue and the debate.
This is a highly contentious area and was triggered by the Report of the Commission and a recent High Court decision protecting lawyers and doctors from prosecution for acting on behalf of clients who wanted to end their lives.
We await the outcome of the Law Society’s debate, it shall make extremely interesting reading. Michelle Parry, Wills and Probate Assistant
Member since: 23rd February 2012
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