Regina (Pretty) v Director of Public Prosecutions, and Another, Medical Ethics Alliance and Others, interveners: Admn 18 Oct 2001

The function of the Director’s office is statutory, and his powers are those laid down. He is not able to excuse possible criminal conduct in advance, and nor could he establish a policy of not applying certain statutory provisions. The Suicide Act could not be re-interpreted in the light of the Human Rights Act to protect a right of life. There is a direct conflict between the right of life, and the right to protect a body. The Convention protects life and the dignity of life, but does not protect any right to procure one’s own death or confer a right to die. The right to the dignity of life was not a right to die with dignity, but rather a right to live, with as much dignity as could possibly be afforded, until that life reached its natural end.


Lord Justice Tuckey, Lady Justice Hale and Mr Justice Silber


Times 23-Oct-2001, Gazette 22-Nov-2001, [2001] EWHC Admin 788




Suicide Act 1961 2(1) 2(4)


CitedAttorney General of Trinidad and Tobago v Phillip PC 9-Nov-1994
A pardon which had been give to insurrectionists was invalid, since it purported to excuse future conduct also, but there had been no duress shown. There is no general power to excuse a crime before it is committed. Lord Woolf: ‘A pardon must in the . .
CitedRegina v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, Ex parte Blackburn CA 1968
Answerability of Chief Constables
The constitutional status of the Commissioner had never been defined, either by statute or by the courts. By common law police officers owe to the general public a duty to enforce the criminal law. The court considered the extent to which a court . .
CitedC (A Minor) v Director of Public Prosecutions HL 17-Mar-1995
The House considered whether the long established rule of the criminal law presuming that a child did not have a guilty mind should be set aside.
Held: Doli incapax, the presumption of a child’s lack of mens rea, is still effective and good . .

Cited by:

Appeal fromRegina (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 . .
CitedRusbridger and Another v Attorney General CA 20-Mar-2002
The paper wanted to publish an article about the monarchy but was concerened that it might lead to it being prosecuted under the 1848 Act. The complainant sought declarations as to the incompatibility of the 1848 Act with the 1998 Act.
Held: . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Practice, Constitutional, Human Rights

Updated: 04 June 2022; Ref: scu.166631