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Terminally ill man loses assisted dying challenge


Noel Douglas Conway -v- The Secretary of State for Justice and Others [2017] EWHC 2447 (Admin)


A man suffering from motor neurone disease has lost his challenge against the law on assisted dying.  Mr Conway wanted a declaration that the Suicide Act 1961, which lays out the law on assisted dying, is incompatible with Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) which relates to respect for private and family life. 


Mr Conway, whose medical illness is terminal, wanted a doctor to be allowed to prescribe a lethal dose to end his life when his health deteriorates.  However, the current law means that any doctor helping Mr Conway would risk a 14 year prison sentence.  His lawyers argued this was unfair and the law needed to change. His case was supported by Humanists UK and opposed by the secretary of state for justice, with the backing of Care Not Killing and Not Dead Yet UK, who also made submissions.


The UK High Court rejected his case and held that the Suicide Act was compatible with Article 8 ECHR.  The court also delayed a decision on whether to grant permission to appeal against the ruling.


Read an article from UK Human Rights Blog here.  The Independent’s coverage can be read here.