The applicant said that the defendant had unlawfully failed to provide detailed guidance under section 10 of the 1985 Act, on the circumstances under which a prosecution might lie of a person performing acts which might assist another to commit suicide. The claimant suffered a severe degenerative illness and anticipated that she would want to go to Switzerland to end her life, but did not want her partner to be prosecuted for accompanying her.
Held: Nothing had changed the effect of the decision in Pretty to engage article 8 in such situations. The application failed. The variety of facts which may give rise to the commission of an offence under section 2(1), and therefore which may result in a person being prosecuted, is almost infinite. The need for certainity in what amounted to a criminal act had to be balanced with the proper need for flexibility. The scope of the discretion given to the Attorney General on prosecutions concerns only the one offence, which is clearly identified and defined in section 2(1) of the Act, albeit in broad terms, and although the possible factual basis for the offences covered by section 2(1) are almost infinitely varied, it seems likely that the number of possible offences under section 2(1) that are committed each year is not large.
Scott Baker LJ
 EWHC 2565 (Admin), (2008) 104 BMLR 231,  HRLR 7,  UKHRR 94
Suicide Act 1961 1 2(1), Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 1 10(1)
England and Wales
Cited – United States Government v Montgomery and Another HL 6-Feb-2001
An English court had power to make a restraining order against the disposal of assets pending an application for confiscation pursuant to a US order. This applied even if the US original judgment predated the date on which the US was added to the . .
Cited – Pretty v The United Kingdom ECHR 29-Apr-2002
Right to Life Did Not include Right to Death
The applicant was paralysed and suffered a degenerative condition. She wanted her husband to be allowed to assist her suicide by accompanying her to Switzerland. English law would not excuse such behaviour. She argued that the right to die is not . .
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 – Rodriguez v Attorney General of Canada 30-Sep-1993
Canlii (Supreme Court of Canada) Constitutional law – Charter of Rights – Life, liberty and security of the person – Fundamental justice – Terminally ill patient seeking assistance to commit suicide – Whether . .
Cited – X (Minors) v Bedfordshire County Council; M (A Minor) and Another v Newham London Borough Council; Etc HL 29-Jun-1995
Liability in Damages on Statute Breach to be Clear
Damages were to be awarded against a Local Authority for breach of statutory duty in a care case only if the statute was clear that damages were capable of being awarded. in the ordinary case a breach of statutory duty does not, by itself, give rise . .
Cited – Countryside Alliance and others, Regina (on the Application of) v Attorney General and Another HL 28-Nov-2007
The appellants said that the 2004 Act infringed their rights under articles 8 11 and 14 and Art 1 of protocol 1.
Held: Article 8 protected the right to private and family life. Its purpose was to protect individuals from unjustified intrusion . .
Cited – JD, MAK and RK, RK and Another v East Berkshire Community Health, Dewsbury Health Care NHS Trust and Kirklees Metropolitan Council, Oldham NHS Trust and Dr Blumenthal CA 31-Jul-2003
Damages were sought by parents for psychological harm against health authorities for the wrongful diagnosis of differing forms of child abuse. They appealed dismissal of their awards on the grounds that it was not ‘fair just and reasonable’ to . .
Cited – Regina v Sectretary of State for the Home Department ex parte Razgar etc HL 17-Jun-2004
The claimant resisted removal after failure of his claim for asylum, saying that this would have serious adverse consequences to his mental health, infringing his rights under article 8. He appealed the respondent’s certificate that his claim was . .
Cited – Kay and Another v London Borough of Lambeth and others; Leeds City Council v Price and others and others HL 8-Mar-2006
In each case the local authority sought to recover possession of its own land. In the Lambeth case, they asserted this right as against an overstaying former tenant, and in the Leeds case as against gypsies. In each case the occupiers said that the . .
Cited – Ghaidan v Godin-Mendoza HL 21-Jun-2004
Same Sex Partner Entitled to tenancy Succession
The protected tenant had died. His same-sex partner sought a statutory inheritance of the tenancy.
Held: His appeal succeeded. The Fitzpatrick case referred to the position before the 1998 Act: ‘Discriminatory law undermines the rule of law . .
Cited – The Sunday Times (No 1) v The United Kingdom ECHR 26-Apr-1979
Offence must be ;in accordance with law’
The court considered the meaning of the need for an offence to be ‘in accordance with law.’ The applicants did not argue that the expression prescribed by law required legislation in every case, but contended that legislation was required only where . .
Cited – Hasan and Chaush v Bulgaria ECHR 26-Oct-2000
The Grand Chamber considered executive interference in the appointment of the Chief Mufti of the Bulgarian Muslims: ‘Where the organisation of the religious community is at issue, Article 9 must be interpreted in the light of Article 11 of the . .
Cited – Goodwin v The United Kingdom ECHR 27-Mar-1996
An order for a journalist to reveal his source was a breach of his right of free expression: ‘The court recalls that freedom of expression constitutes one of the essential foundations of a democratic society and that the safeguards to be afforded to . .
Cited – Herczegfalvy v Austria ECHR 24-Sep-1992
The applicant was detained in an institution for mentally deranged offenders. While so detained he was subjected to the forcible administration of food and neuroleptics and to handcuffing to a security bed. He complained of violation of his Article . .
At First Instance – 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 . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Crime, Human Rights, Administrative
Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.277545