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Divisional Court upholds the prohibition on assisted suicide: R (Conway) v. The Secretary of State for Justice [2017] EWHC 2447

6th October 2017

This was the latest challenge seeking to legalise assisted dying. The claimant sought a declaration that s.2 of the Suicide Act 1961 is incompatible with article 8 of the European Convention.  The Court accepted that the question is justiciable and that the courts have to decide the claim.  The judgment goes on to hold that the prohibition is a proportionate response to the sanctity of life, to the need to protect vulnerable people and to preserving trust and confidence between doctors and patients.  The court relied on Parliament repeatedly deciding to leave the ban on assisted dying in place and on evidence from doctors’ groups and disability campaigners.

The case has attracted widespread press coverage and the full judgment is available here.

David Lawson was instructed by David Foster of Barlow Robbins on behalf of Care Not Killing.

Amy Street was instructed by the prospective claimant in the case, led by Richard Gordon QC and instructed by Yogi Amin & Anne-Marie Irwin of Irwin Mitchell, before starting parental leave. She has recently returned to practice. Alex Ruck Keene and Annabel Lee are the current juniors for the claimant in the case.


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