Bioethics News

The European Court of Human Rights declares inadmissible a assisted suicide law in UK

In both cases the decision of the European Court of Human Rights cannot be appealed, so the cases can be considered settled

In July 2015, the European Court of Human Rights declared that two Articles of a  promoting assisted suicide law in the United Kingdom were inadmissible.

These Articles referred to two specific cases, those of Tony Nicklinson and Paul Lamb. Mr Nicklinson suffered a stroke in 2005 and died in August 2012; Mr Lamb was paralysed following a car accident in 1990. Both asked the competent authorities for the opportunity to access assisted suicide in compliance with Article 8 on the Right to Respect for Private and Family Life, in force in the United Kingdom. Both appeals reached the English Supreme Court in June 2014, but were dismissed, finding that the decision to be able to authorise assisted suicide could only be authorised by Parliament.

Mr Nicklinson’s wife brought the complaint to the European Court of Human Rights, but the petition was declared manifestly unfounded and consequently was not admitted.

In parallel, Mr. Lamb also stated that the failure of the English Court to allow him to access to assisted suicide was a violation of his most basic rights. However, the European Court of Human Rights declared this petition inadmissible. In both cases the decision of the European Court of Human Rights cannot be appealed, so the cases can be considered settled (Journal of Medical Ethics 41; 790, 2015).

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