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6 Eur. J. Comp. L. & Governance 1 (2019)

handle is hein.journals/eujclg6 and id is 1 raw text is: 

 BRILL                   GOVERNANCE 6 (2019) 1-5
NIJHOFF                                                          brill.com/ejcI


The 'Right to Assisted Suicide' and the Institutional

Limits of Judicial Governance

On 27 November 2o18, Noel Conway was refused permission by the UK Su-
preme Court to pursue his legal challenge against the criminal ban on assist-
ed suicide.' To a political constitutionalist, this decision was, however tragic,
the correct one. Conway suffered from motor neurone disease and required
mechanical assistance to breath in the form of non-invasive ventilation for
around 23 hours a day (at the time of his application). When he was diagnosed
with less than six months to live he sought the right to lawfully avail of medi-
cal assistance in his suicide, rather than simply die under heavy sedation after
the withdrawal of his ventilation. He claimed that the criminal ban on assisted
suicide (s. 2 of the Suicide Act 1961) was a violation of his Article 8 rights under
the European Convention on Human Rights. His claim was defeated before the
High Court2 and the Court of Appeal.3 Conway's rights-based challenge to the
lawfulness of the blanket ban on assisted suicide was highly similar to that of
Tony Nicklinson's, three years previously. Nicklinson's claim was also rejected
at every level of appeal4 - including at the European Court of Human Rights.
Although the merits of a blanket ban on assisted suicide may certainly be up

I R. (on the application of Conway) v Secretary of State forJustice, Supreme Court, 27 Novem-
   ber 2018 (full citation not available at the time of writing).
2 R. (on the application of Conway) v Secretary of State forJustice [2017] EWHC 2447 (Admin).
3 R. (on the application of Conway) v Secretary of State forJustice [2018] EWCA Civ 1431.
4 Nicklinson v Ministry ofJustice [2012] EWHC 2381 (Admin); Nicklinson andLamb v Ministry of
  Justice [2013] EWCA Civ 961; R (on the application of Nicklinson and another) (Appellants) v
  Ministry ofJustice (Respondent); R (on the application of AM) (AP) (Respondent) v Director of
  Public Prosecutors (Appellant); R (on the application ofAM) (AP) (Appellant) vDirector of Pub-
  lic Prosecutors (Respondent) [2014] UKS C 38; Nicklinson and Lamb v the UK (App no. 2478/15
  and 1787/15) 23June 2015.

( KONINKLIJKE BRILL NV, LEIDEN, 2019 1 DOI:10.1163/22134514-00601002

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