References

BBC News. Assisted dying campaigner Noel Conway dies aged 71. 2021. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-shropshire-57441095 (accessed 5 August 2021)

European convention on fundamental human rights and freedoms.Rome: Council of Europe; 1950

Director of Public Prosecutions; Crown Prosecution Service. Policy for prosecutors in respect of cases of encouraging or assisting suicide. 2010. https://www.cps.gov.uk/legal-guidance/suicide-policy-prosecutors-respect-cases-encouraging-or-assisting-suicide

Daughter who helped parents in suicide pact stood in stunned silence watching them die, inquest hears. 2014. https://tinyurl.com/c23sdhns (accessed 5 August 2021)

Pretty v DPP [2001] UKHL 61.

R (on the application of AM) v DPP [2013] EWCA Civ 961.

R (on the application of Conway) v Secretary of State for Justice [2017] EWCA Civ 275.

R (on the application of E) v Ashworth Special Hospital [2001] EWHC Admin 339.

R (on the application of Oliver Leslie Burke) (Respondent) v General Medical Council (Appellant) & The Disability Rights Commission & 8 Others (Interveners) [2005] EWCA Civ 1003.

R (on the application of Purdy) v Director of Public Prosecutions [2009] UKHL 45 R v McShane [1977] Crim LR 737.

R (on the application of Nicklinson) v Ministry of Justice [2014] UKSC 38 R v North West Lancashire HA Ex p. D; A; G [1999] EWCA 2022.

Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and assisted dying

12 August 2021
6 min read
Volume 30 · Issue 15

Abstract

Richard Griffith, Senior Lecturer in Health Law at Swansea University, continues his series on the articles of the European Convention on Human Rights and considers Article 8 in the context of assisted dying

News of the death of Noel Conway earlier this year has again led to calls for a change in the law to allow people the ultimate expression of autonomy by allowing them to choose when to die and to be given lawful assistance to do so (BBC News, 2021).

Noel Conway, who had motor neurone disease, was a campaigner for a change in the law and took his case to court, arguing that the law forbidding assisted dying violated his rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) (Council of Europe, 1950).

Article 8 of the ECHR is an example of a qualified human right. It begins by asserting in Article 8(1) that:

‘Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.’

It then adds considerable qualification to that right under Article 8(2) that gives considerable scope for derogation:

Register now to continue reading

Thank you for visiting British Journal of Nursing and reading some of our peer-reviewed resources for nurses. To read more, please register today. You’ll enjoy the following great benefits:

What's included

  • Limited access to clinical or professional articles

  • Unlimited access to the latest news, blogs and video content