The ‘Right To Die’ – It’s not a ‘right’ afforded to us, it’s our own choice already, why do we have to fight for it?
As usual euthanasia and patient assisted suicide (PAS) is something that is decided for us by people (usually church/religion and/or state) who like to fully control every aspect of our lives including the most important parts.
Ironically enough I was just pressing the point to someone recently that barristers and hence judges have the title ‘Justice’ (when presiding/judging) which shows the kind of country and world we live in. They act like [and might think] they’re non-human entities/concept/Plato’s ‘forms’ created or in existence to ‘govern’ us (‘fairly’ – according to ‘might [money/funds] is right’ ideology), mostly chosen by people like them with a Silver spoon in their mouths and not through meritocracy or an egalitarian society. The listener did not believe me… And they’re always wrong.
The problem with the Noel Conway case is that he is fighting for the right to be heard and to possibly change the law, which you can do when you go to the High Court. What that means is even if he wins he won’t win permission to have a say over his own life, it’s getting the issue of the blanket ban on euthanasia and PAS to be debated again. The courts and parliament are too busy passing the buck between each other on deciding who or how to change the law if at all. Parliament in general (both Houses, not just the government) have shown over the years that they have little interest in doing so and don’t want to address whether they’re breaking Human Rights in denying choice either.
As far as I’m concerned a person should be able to end their life (especially as they don’t choose to live in the first place, their parents make that choice) whenever they want (and no I don’t on a whim or bad mood) but if we’re going the ‘doctor recommended’ route then it shouldn’t just be the terminally ill and patients with diagnosis (not all patients are diagnosed they can be under constant review), any patient who finds their life unbearable should have their wishes honoured. Plenty of them were suffering long before they became patients, plenty have lost all hope and plenty don’t have the strength or resources to terminate themselves in a peaceful, painless way. All they’re asking for is that doctors/medical professionals carry out the death part of their jobs fully. The profession is not just about life and preserving it no matter what and then patients dying because everything they tried failed and so the health professionals can’t blame themselves or face insurance/court backlash, it’s about full respect of your charge/patient. It’s about death rites and being there for them i.e. you assist in bringing them into the world, you’re there for them in between and it’s also your job to help take them out as well in the kindest possible way, before their suffering outweighs their quality of life. That’s not just the job of priests. Death is also a part of healing and many cultures know and have known that for millenia. We’re too far removed from what it feels like to be human and to be part of humanity, opting to be slaves to protocol instead and the ideology of ‘it’s my job, I might not agree but that’s what the rules say’ as a way of pushing aside and negating personal responsibility.
What are people supposed to do whilst the health industry, religion and politicians/monarchy are ‘playing God’ or ‘representative(s) of God’? It’s obvious that the divide between rich and poor keeps getting wider, that suicide rates and going abroad for euthanasia or PAS has increased especially in times of austerity (more stress = more illness and being affected younger) so why the reluctance to ‘allow’ people their ‘god-given‘ or ‘universal rights’ or quite frankly their human/being alive rights? In regards to those who perpetuate the class systems why hesitate to let the ‘surplus population’/’useless eaters’ (but still consumers though if on the NHS they’re pretty much going to suffer more and longer anyway) choose for themselves. Why is this even an issue about rich and poor? The rich worldwide and especially those with stakes in ‘Silicon Valley’/modern tech get to finance and have accessibility to both life lengthening procedures and costly euthanasia/PAS whereas the rest of us are left to wrist slashing, homemade concoctions, overdosing, overdosing plus alcohol, gas, traffic accidents (yes I know about the Leicester incident and news coverage the next day about dementia patients and motorways), drowning and all the rest of it, a lot of which goes horribly wrong. Seriously if guns were allowed in this country many people would’ve taken that way out and I don’t blame them.
Some people are very practical and realize that death is part of life and have been ready to live a decent life both moral and as a good citizen but also ready to die at any moment if it just so happens e.g. you get hit by a bus or something (almost happened to me recently lol and puts me in mind of what I and two friends – one Catholic and one Christian – used to say to each other every time we left each other “see you [insert time/date], god willing!” As a joke but one of those painfully true ones; and no I’m not religious I don’t even ascribe to a school of philosophy). You live your life in a way that you can be proud of, dutifully and well informed so that whenever ‘your time comes’ your relationships with people can end in a way that you don’t regret too much and your ‘house is in order’. You don’t have to be old-aged for that, I was ready to die by approximately 10 years old and have always supported euthanasia and abortion – pro-choice for both. I was ready for that as well as to live a life full of goals, optimism and health. Basically I knew that life can go in any direction and I was prepared/preparing. You don’t have to old to be wise. (And my title isn’t ‘Justice’ either thank goodness/ethics but my name is ‘Gift/Vision of God’ which outranks the former and is exceptional… I didn’t choose it though so I’ll beat down any god/demon/’other’ willing or unwilling to go the boxing rounds *ahem*.)
Noel Conway case to be heard in July
Press release | 23rd May 2017
Judicial review on assisted dying will be heard at the High Court in the week commencing 17th July 2017 by three judges over five days.
A judicial review brought by a man with terminal motor neurone disease to challenge the current law on assisted dying is due to be heard at the High Court in mid-July, following a directions hearing which took place yesterday (Monday 22nd May 2017). The Noel Conway v Ministry of Justice case, which is supported by Dignity in Dying, will be heard by three judges over five days in the week commencing the 17th of July 2017.
Noel Conway, 67, a retired college lecturer from Shropshire, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a form of motor neurone disease, in November 2014. His condition is incurable and he is not expected to live beyond the next 12 months. Noel feels that he is prevented from exercising his right to choice and control over his death under the current law. He fears that without a change in the law he may be forced to suffer against his wishes. Noel, supported by Dignity in Dying, has instructed law firm Irwin Mitchell to bring this case to fight for his right to have the option of an assisted death when he is in his final six months of life.
“I am delighted that my case will be heard in full at the High Court in July. I am glad to hear that, given the importance of the case, it will be presided over by three judges over five days – a testament to how deserving this issue is of full and proper consideration.
“I have brought this case to fight for choice and control at the end of life – for me and for all terminally ill people and their loved ones who are being failed by the current law. I know I am going to die anyway, but how and when should be up to me. To have the option of an assisted death in this country would provide me with great reassurance and comfort. It would allow me to decide when I am ready to go, rather than be forced into a premature death by travelling abroad or be left at the mercy of a cruel illness.”
Sarah Wootton, Chief Executive of Dignity in Dying, said:
“We are pleased that Noel’s case will get the full High Court hearing it deserves and that his health has been taken in account when expediting the case.
“The current law means that terminally ill Britons are being forced to suffer against their wishes or take drastic measures at home and abroad in order to wrest back control over their deaths. Noel, supported by Dignity in Dying, wants the courts to examine the evidence in full and decide if a blanket ban on assisted dying is lawful.
“We are indebted to Noel and his family for devoting their time and energy to this hugely important case and we look forward to the High Court hearing in July.”
Yogi Amin, partner and head of public law and human rights at Irwin Mitchell, added:
“Noel would like the choice to be able to die with dignity. The world has changed phenomenally in the past few decades with many medical advances but the law on assisted dying for those who are terminally ill hasn’t changed for more than 50 years.
“Three judges will now hear his case in the High Court over five days which shows the level of importance this judicial review case has. The Court will be considering detailed evidence and legal arguments about whether a blanket ban breaches our Human Rights law.”
For further information, photos and interviews with representatives from Dignity in Dying, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org / 07725 433 025 / 0207 479 7732 or email@example.com / 0207 479 7734
For interviews with representatives from Irwin Mitchell, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org / 0114 274 4666
Notes to Editor
About the case
Noel Conway, 67, from Shrewsbury, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a form of motor neurone disease, in November 2014. His condition is incurable and terminal – he is not expected to live beyond the next 12 months.
Noel feels that he is prevented from exercising his right to choice and control over his death under the current law. He fears that without a change in the law he may be forced to suffer against his wishes. Noel is bringing this case against the Ministry of Justice to fight for his right to have the option of an assisted death when he is in his final six months of life.
Noel attended the High Court on March 21st to request permission to bring a legal case.
On Thursday 30th March 2017, a decision was handed down denying permission for the case to proceed. Noel Conway’s legal team successfully appealed this decision on Tuesday 11th April 2017, meaning the case will proceed to a full hearing at the High Court. A directions hearing on Monday 22nd May 2017 determined the procedural arrangements for the High Court hearing, namely that it will take place in the week commencing the 17th of July 2017 over five days, heard by three judges. The courts close for summer on Monday 31st July, and reopen on Monday 2nd October. It is anticipated that a decision will be published on the Conway case after the summer recess.
Also on the morning of Monday 22nd May, the court considered the case of Omid T, a separate legal case to that of Noel Conway. Omid T does not have a terminal diagnosis and is calling for assisted suicide to be made available to anyone who is suffering unbearably, not just those who are dying. His case was granted permission to proceed but it will not be joined with Noel Conway’s.
About Dignity in Dying
Dignity in Dying campaigns for greater choice, control and access to services at the end of life. It advocates providing terminally ill adults with the option of an assisted death, within strict legal safeguards, and for universal access to high quality end-of-life care.
For more information, visit http://www.dignityindying.org.uk
About Irwin Mitchell
Irwin Mitchell is over 100 years old and is one of the largest law firms in the UK. Last year Irwin Mitchell merged with Thomas Eggar LLP expanding its presence in London and the South East and has also acquired specialist Personal Injury firm MPH Solicitors and private wealth firm Berkeley Law in the past few years.
The firm is ranked as a market-leading personal legal services firm in the independent Legal 500 and Chambers UK guides to UK law with over 100 lawyers personally recommended. For more information, visit http://www.irwinmitchell.com
This was the most recent decision before the upcoming July hearing.
High Court Judgment: Noel Conway -v- Secretary of State for Justice
30 March 2017 |High Court|Civil
Neutral Citation Number:  EWHC640 (Admin)
Case no: CO/6421/2016
In the High Court of Justice
Queen’s Bench Division
Lord Justice Burnett
Mr Justice Charles
Mr Justice Jay
The Queen (on the application of Noel Douglas Conway) – Claimant
– and –
Secretary of State for Justice – Defendant