A British man with "locked in syndrome" has sought, among other things, a declaration from the Court that the common law defence of necessity is available to a charge of murder in the case of voluntary active euthanasia and/or to a charge of assisting suicide provided that "(a) the Court has confirmed in advance that the defence of necessity will arise on the facts of the particular case; (b) the Court is satisfied that the person is suffering from a medical condition that causes unbearable suffering; there are no alternative means available by which his suffering may be relived; and he has made a voluntary, clear, settled and informed decision to end his life; (c) the assistance is to be given by a medical doctor who is satisfied that his or her duty to respect autonomy and to ease the patient's suffering outweighs his or her duty to preserve life". The UK High Court refused the Ministry of Justice's application to have the claim struck out on the basis that it had no prospect of success, finding that there was an arguable case in support of the declaration relating to the defence of necessity. The High Court also allowed a claim based on Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Right (right to respect for private life) to proceed to trial, but struck out a claim based on Article 2 (right to life). Nicklinson v Ministry of Justice  EWHC 304 (QB)
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"Right to die" case will be heard by UK court
- Buddle Findlay
- United Kingdom
- May 30 2012
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