As you may recall, following the House of Lords decision in the Debbie Purdy case last year, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) published guidance on the facts and circumstances which he would take into account when deciding whether or not to prosecute someone for assisted suicide. We reported on the guidance in the March 2010 edition of the Health legal update. Since then, there have been several reported cases, none of which have resulted in a prosecution.

It has now emerged that the former Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, will chair a commission to consider whether relatives should be allowed to apply to a judge for permission to assist a loved one to commit suicide.

It is understood that Lord Falconer’s team will travel to Switzerland and other places where assisted suicides are permitted to see what happens there.

We will of course keep you informed of progress.