vulnerable patient with drip attached

Supreme Court rejects assisted suicide challenge

28th Nov 2018 - James Mildred

An attempt by a a terminally ill man to challenge the law on assisted suicide came to an end yesterday after the Supreme Court declined to hear a second appeal.

Backed by pressure group Dignity in Dying, Mr Noel Conway was seeking a declaration of incompatibility between section two of the Suicide Act (which bans assisted suicide) and article eight of the European Convention on Human Rights (respect for private and family life).

Initially, the case was denied permission to be heard, then after a four day hearing was rejected by the High Court in October 2017. An attempt to overturn the ruling failed when the Court of Appeal upheld the earlier judgement.

Now the Supreme Court has also declined to hear a further appeal.

Dignity in Dying responded by tweeting: “We will now turn our attention back to Parliament and demonstrate to MPs the strength of support for assisted dying”.

MPs last voted on proposals to introduce assisted suicide on 11 September 2015, when they kicked out an attempt to introduce assisted suicide in the form of the Rob Marris Assisted Dying Bill (No 2).


Dr Peter Saunders, Director of Care Not Killing said: “The judges, parliamentarians, doctors and disability rights groups are all in agreement – that the safest law is the one we currently have. It carefully balances the individual’s rights with the need to protect vulnerable people, who could feel pressured to end their lives.”

CARE’s spokesperson James Mildred said: “Changing the current law to allow assisted suicide would be a serious mistake.

“While not wishing to minimise the suffering some experience at the end of their lives, law makers must recognise that hard cases often make bad laws.”

Find out more

READ: more about our work on assisted suicide

READ: reaction from our friends at Care Not Killing


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