Assisted Dying in England and Wales: Conway’s Challenge - Déjà Vu or Jamais Vu?

Choong, Kartina Aisha orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-9407-1771 and Law, Richard (2019) Assisted Dying in England and Wales: Conway’s Challenge - Déjà Vu or Jamais Vu? In: Perspectives of Law and Culture on the End-of-Life Legislations in France, Germany, India, Italy and United Kingdom. Nomos, Germany. ISBN 978-3-8487-5492-2

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Abstract

Assisted dying remains illegal in England and Wales in spite of several attempts having been made by campaigners to challenge the law. These were either through judicial review in the courts or the introduction Private Members’ Bills in Parliament. Recently, terminally ill Noel Conway joins the cause by seeking a declaration of incompatibility between the blanket ban on assisted dying as enshrined in section 2(1) Suicide Act 1961, with his right to respect for private life as protected by Article 8(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights. He also proposed a statutory scheme that he claimed would serve as sufficient protection for the weak and vulnerable, and which would in turn render the blanket ban an unnecessary and disproportionate interference with his Article 8(1) rights. However, given that these assertions have been made by previous campaigners, Conway’s decision to field these arguments has a strange sense of familiarity around them. Hence when his application failed to garner the sympathy of the High Court and the Court of Appeal in their recent judgments, this was hardly surprising since these two main routes which campaigners have pursued in the 21st century, have never met with success. By either overlooking or paying insufficient heed to their fates in previous campaigns, Conway’s challenge seemed destined for failure from the outset.


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