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Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Criminal Law

R (Nicklinson) v Ministry of Justice [2014] UKSC 38, Supreme Court  

Essential Cases: Criminal Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in R (Nicklinson) v Ministry of Justice [2014] UKSC 38, Supreme Court. The document also included supporting commentary from author Jonathan Herring.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Criminal Law

R (Nicklinson) v Ministry of Justice [2014] UKSC 38, Supreme Court  

Essential Cases: Criminal Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in R (Nicklinson) v Ministry of Justice [2014] UKSC 38, Supreme Court. The document also included supporting commentary from author Jonathan Herring.

Chapter

Cover Medical Law

17. Assisted Dying  

This chapter examines assisted dying. It looks at the current law, and arguments for and against its reform. It covers attempts to change the law in parliament and through human rights challenges in the courts. There is also brief coverage of other jurisdictions’ experience with legalization.

Chapter

Cover Mason and McCall Smith's Law and Medical Ethics

18. Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide  

A. M. Farrell and E. S. Dove

As with treatment withdrawal and withholding, both law and ethics are engaged in the debates on euthanasia and assisted suicide. While the law is immovable on the proscription of the former as murder, assisted suicide is becoming increasingly permissible in various jurisdictions, subject to a range of conditions, or ‘safeguards’. These range from residency in the jurisdiction for a period of time, to capacity and a terminal diagnosis. In this chapter, we begin by discussing the question of euthanasia, before turning to assisted suicide as an expression of a person’s autonomy. We consider the ways in which the UK jurisdictions could reverse the current position in which assisting a suicide amounts to a criminal offence, including both a jurisprudential and a legislative route to reform. We conclude that while this is an essentially constitutional issue, there is no need for legislative reform, save in respect of that narrow class of patient with a degenerative and incapacitating neuromuscular disease.

Chapter

Cover Criminal Law

5. Homicide  

This chapter discusses homicide in the criminal law, which can be divided into the following categories: murder, manslaughter, infanticide, and a number of specific offences concerned with causing death while driving—with the first two categories being by far the most important. It considers suicide pacts, mercy killing, and euthanasia; homicide statistics; non-homicide killings; and diminished responsibility. Significant academic and political energy is put into homicide law, considering the relatively few homicide offences that take place each year. What this reveals is that the law’s approach to homicide has great symbolic importance in both political and legal terms.

Book

Cover Medical Law and Ethics

Jonathan Herring

Medical Law and Ethics covers not only the core legal principles, key cases, and statutes that govern medical law, but also explores the key ethical debates and dilemmas that exist in the field to ensure that the law is firmly embedded within its context. The title highlights these debates, drawing angles from other jurisdictions, religious beliefs, and feminist perspectives which influence legal regulations. Other features such as ‘a shock to the system’, ‘public opinion’, and ‘reality check’ introduce further sociological aspects, contributing to the way in which the subject is approached. This new edition also includes a new chapter on the medical law governing children and discussion of the response to the COVID pandemic. It also discusses important developments in the case law governing the Mental Capacity Act, clinical negligence, abortion, and reproduction.

Chapter

Cover Medical Law and Ethics

11. Dying and Death  

This chapter examines the legal and ethical aspects of death. It begins with a discussion of the difficulty of the choosing a definition of ‘death’. It then sets out the law on a range of ‘end-of-life issues’, including euthanasia, assisted suicide, and refusal of medical treatment. It considers some particularly complex cases in which the law is not always easy to apply. These include the administration of pain-relieving drugs, the treatment of severely disabled newborn children, and the position of patients suffering from PVS. Next, the chapter considers the ethical debates surrounding euthanasia, assisted suicide, and terminating treatment. This is followed by a discussion of palliative care and hospices.

Chapter

Cover Mason and McCall Smith's Law and Medical Ethics

19. Medical Assistance in Dying  

G. T. Laurie, S. H. E. Harmon, and E. S. Dove

This chapter discusses ethical and legal aspects of euthanasia and assisted dying. It first examines the non-voluntary termination of life, covering the relationship between medical treatment and assistance in dying as a matter of failure to treat, and the philosophical concept of ‘double effect’. The chapter then discusses activity and passivity in assisted dying; dying as an expression of patient autonomy; suicide and assisted suicide; physician-assisted suicide; and assisted dying in practice.

Chapter

Cover Medical Law Concentrate

9. The end of life  

This chapter deals with key legal and ethical issues surrounding end-of-life decisions, with particular reference to physician-assisted death, such as euthanasia. Suicide and assisted suicide, administration of pain relief, and futility are considered. Relevant legislation such as the Suicide Act 1961 (as amended by the Coroners and Justice Act 2009), the Human Rights Act 1998, and the Mental Capacity Act 2005 are discussed. The chapter examines several bioethical principles, including sanctity-of-life and quality-of-life debates; autonomy, beneficence, and medical paternalism; personhood, palliative care, and the double effect doctrine. Finally, it considers human rights issues, treatment requests, incompetent patients, prolonged disorders of consciousness, and locked-in syndrome. Recent cases are considered.

Chapter

Cover Human Rights Law Directions

15. Article 8: right to respect for private and family life  

Without assuming prior legal knowledge, books in the Directions series introduce and guide readers through key points of law and legal debate. It discusses European Convention law and relates it to domestic law under the HRA. Questions, discussion points, and thinking points help readers to engage fully with each subject and check their understanding as they progress and knowledge can be tested by self-test questions and exam questions at the chapter end. This chapter focuses on Article 8. Article 8 is concerned with matters that are considered personal, over which individuals are sovereign, and with which the state should not interfere. In its first paragraph, it recognises ‘private life’, ‘family life’, ‘home’, and ‘correspondence’ as the general concepts in terms of which this sphere of the personal is to be protected under the European Convention on Human Rights. These terms are defined and discussed in the chapter. The second paragraph presents the general legal conditions that must be satisfied before such interference can be considered justified and compatible with the Convention. Much of the chapter is concerned with the application of Article 8 to various situations such as surveillance, the environment, deportation, abortion, and euthanasia. Article 8 is also invoked in respect of important and controversial matters such as the situation of transgendered persons and the duties of states towards homosexual families.

Chapter

Cover Jacobs, White, and Ovey: The European Convention on Human Rights

8. The Right to Life  

This chapter examines the case-law of the Strasbourg Court related to the right to life. This includes cases concerning the death penalty and the extraterritorial application of the right to life, the prohibition of intentional killing by the State, including deaths in custody and forced disappearances, positive obligations to protect life, the duty to investigate deaths, medical termination of pregnancy and the rights of the unborn child, quality of life and end of life issues, such as euthanasia. The chapter suggests that after a slow start the body of judgments concerning the right to life has become one of the richest and most dynamic of all the Convention case-law.