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Landmark “right to die” cases to be heard by some of Britain’s most senior judges.

At the time of writing, nine of Britain’s most senior judges are hearing the cases of the family of the late Tony Nicklinson, and two severely disabled men, Paul Lamb and a man known only as “Martin.” The cases have been put together to be heard in the Supreme Court – the most senior Court in Britain. Mr Nicklinson suffered from “locked-in syndrome” and died shortly after a failed right-to-die bid in the High Court last year. Paul Lamb is seeking a court order which would allow a doctor to take his life without facing murder charges and “Martin”, who was left severely disabled after a car accident, is looking for a change in the way those who assist in a suicide are prosecuted by the law. All three cases are seeking to legalise euthanasia under British law.

As reported by the Telegraph, the lawyers involved are planning to draw on legal arguments already developed by Lord Falconer, who chaired an unofficial commission into assisted suicide last year. The main thrust of the argument is that the 1961 Suicide Act, which makes it a criminal offence to aid someone in the act of taking their own life, imposes “extraordinary and cruel” limits on personal freedom. Lord Falconer’s previous attempts were reported in the November issue of image news and it is clear he has no intention of ceasing in his quest.

Without knowing the response of the hearing, the Christian Legal Centre has reminded its followers that these cases were previously unanimously dismissed by three Court of Appeal judges earlier in the year, who ruled “that it was unlawful for a doctor to end the life of a patient on request, and that it was for Parliament, not the courts, to decide whether the law should be changed.” Baroness Butler-Sloss has also warned of the dangers of “tinkering” with the current laws:

“Relaxing the law to allow assisted suicide in certain circumstances would turn a long-established legal boundary into nothing more than a weak ‘line in the sand'”




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