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Developments in the UK

Lord Carlisle QC and Baroness Butler-Sloss, former head of the High Court Family Division, both vocal critics of the former Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill, called for judicial safeguards to prevent vulnerable people being pressurised to end their life.  The House of Lords unanimously backed key amendments giving a High Court judge a role in any future system of assisted suicide in the UK, during detailed scrutiny of Lord Falconer’s proposals. It was the first time Parliament has voted on the bill and was hailed by campaigners as a “significant step” towards a change in the law. The bill would allow patients thought to have no more than six months to live and a “clear and settled intention” to end their lives to
be prescribed a lethal dose of drugs on the authority of two doctors.

The amendments, tabled by Lord Pannick QC, who supports assisted suicide, mean that a judge would also have to be satisfied that the patient had a settled intention to die.
Lord Falconer accepted the amendments, telling peers: “Ultimately it will give greater protection.”

The bill has several further stages to go through in the Lords before it could be passed to the Commons, meaning it could not become law before the General Election.

(from the Telegraph)