The claimant suffered locked-in syndrome and sought relief in a form which would allow others to assist him in committing suicide. The court considered whether the case should be allowed to proceed rather than to be struck out as hopeless.
Held: The case was arguable and should be allowed to proceed: ‘However, the point that the common law and the application of its principles is capable of development and change by the courts on a case by case basis does not mean that the courts should so develop or change the law, particularly when it is settled, and involves issues of policy and ethical issues on which there are differing and strongly held views.’
124 BMLR 191,  Med LR 383, (2012) 15 CCL Rep 427,  WLR(D) 75, (2012) 124 BMLR 191,  HRLR 16,  EWHC 304 (QB)
Human Rights Act 1998 1 6
England and Wales
Cited – Purdy, Regina (on the Application of) v Director of Public Prosecutions HL 30-Jul-2009
Need for Certainty in Scope of Offence
The appellant suffered a severe chronic illness and anticipated that she might want to go to Switzerland to commit suicide. She would need her husband to accompany her, and sought an order requiring the respondent to provide clear guidelines on the . .
Cited – In re P and Others, (Adoption: Unmarried couple) (Northern Ireland); In re G HL 18-Jun-2008
The applicants complained that as an unmarried couple they had been excluded from consideration as adopters.
Held: Northern Ireland legislation had not moved in the same way as it had for other jurisdictions within the UK. The greater . .
Cited – In Re A (Minors) (Conjoined Twins: Medical Treatment) (No 2) CA 15-Nov-2000
The failure by the Official Solicitor to pursue an appeal where leave had been granted, in a case of an application to the court for leave to separate conjoined twins, which separation would lead to the death of one of them, would not of itself . .
Cited – In Re A (Minors) (Conjoined Twins: Medical Treatment); aka In re A (Children) (Conjoined Twins: Surgical Separation) CA 22-Sep-2000
Twins were conjoined (Siamese). Medically, both could not survive, and one was dependent upon the vital organs of the other. Doctors applied for permission to separate the twins which would be followed by the inevitable death of one of them. The . .
Cited – In re F (Mental Patient: Sterilisation) HL 4-May-1989
Where a patient lacks capacity, there is the power to provide him with whatever treatment or care is necessary in his own best interests. Medical treatment can be undertaken in an emergency even if, through a lack of capacity, no consent had been . .
Cited – Airedale NHS Trust v Bland HL 4-Feb-1993
Procedures on Withdrawal of Life Support Treatment
The patient had been severely injured in the Hillsborough disaster, and had come to be in a persistent vegetative state (PVS). The doctors sought permission to withdraw medical treatment. The Official Solicitor appealed against an order of the Court . .
Cited – Regina v Howe etc HL 19-Feb-1986
The defendants appealed against their convictions for murder, saying that their defences of duress had been wrongly disallowed.
Held: Duress is not a defence available on a charge of murder. When a defence of duress is raised, the test is . .
Cited – Regina v Brown (Anthony); Regina v Lucas; etc HL 11-Mar-1993
The appellants had been convicted of assault, after having engaged in consensual acts of sado-masochism in which they inflicted varying degreees of physical self harm. They had pleaded guilty after a ruling that the prosecution had not needed to . .
Cited – In Re L (By His Next Friend GE); Regina v Bournewood Community and Mental Health NHS Trust, Ex Parte L HL 25-Jun-1998
The applicant was an adult autistic, unable to consent to medical treatment. Treatment was provided at a day centre. He had been detained informally under the Act and against the wishes of his carers, but the Court of Appeal decided he should have . .
Cited – Regina v Secretary of State for The Home Department Ex Parte Simms HL 8-Jul-1999
Ban on Prisoners talking to Journalists unlawful
The two prisoners, serving life sentences for murder, had had their appeals rejected. They continued to protest innocence, and sought to bring their campaigns to public attention through the press, having oral interviews with journalists without . .
Cited – In Re F (Adult: Court’s Jurisdiction) CA 25-Jul-2000
The local authority sought a declaration as to its rights to control the daily activities of an eighteen year old, who was incapable of managing her own affairs but was not subject to mental health legislation.
Held: There remained an inherent . .
Cited – Regina (on the Application of Pretty) v Director of Public Prosecutions and Secretary of State for the Home Department HL 29-Nov-2001
The applicant was terminally ill, and entirely dependent upon her husband for care. She foresaw a time when she would wish to take her own life, but would not be able to do so without the active assistance of her husband. She sought a proleptic . .
Cited – Regina v Her Majesty’s Attorney General ex parte Rusbridger and Another HL 26-Jun-2003
Limit to Declaratory Refilef as to Future Acts
The applicant newspaper editor wanted to campaign for a republican government. Articles were published, and he sought confirmation that he would not be prosecuted under the Act, in the light of the 1998 Act.
Held: Declaratory relief as to the . .
See Also – Nicklinson, Regina (on The Application of) v Ministry of Justice Admn 16-Aug-2012
The claimants each suffered ‘locked in syndrome’ after catastrophic health events, and were unable to commit suicide as they would have wished. In one case, the claimant would have needed assistance to travel to a clinic in Switzerland where he . .
See Also – Nicklinson and Another, Regina (on The Application of) v A Primary Care Trust CA 31-Jul-2013
The claimant had suffered a severe form of locked-in syndrome, and would wish to die. He sought a declaration that someone who assisted him in his siuicide would not be prosecuted for murder.
Held: The position in law that voluntary euthanasia . .
See Also – Nicklinson and Another, Regina (on The Application of) SC 25-Jun-2014
Criminality of Assisting Suicide not Infringing
The court was asked: ‘whether the present state of the law of England and Wales relating to assisting suicide infringes the European Convention on Human Rights, and whether the code published by the Director of Public Prosecutions relating to . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Health, Crime, Human Rights
Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.451883