Charles Foster and Ben Bradley in the Nicklinson ‘right to die’ litigation
Charles Foster and Ben Bradley, instructed by Barlow Robbins, represented Care Not Killing, an alliance of organisations opposed to any change in the law relating to assisted dying, in the recent conjoined cases of Tony Nicklinson and ‘AM’. The case attracted international media attention.
Tony Nicklinson has locked-in syndrome. He wishes to die. He cannot kill himself. He seeks to expand the doctrine of necessity so as to provide a defence to anyone who, at his request, killed him. He says that: (a) the common law can and should – quite apart from any ECHR considerations – evolve to provide this defence; and (b) that Article 8 of the ECHR compels such an extension. The other claimant, ‘AM’, seeks to extend the principle in the House of Lords decision in Purdy v DPP (in which Foster and Bradley were also involved) to force the DPP to promulgate the criteria that he would use in deciding whether or not to prosecute doctors and solicitors who encouraged or assisted AM’s suicide, and to force the GMC and the SRA similarly to set out the criteria they would use in deciding whether or not to institute disciplinary proceedings against professionals under their jurisdiction who encouraged or assisted.
The cases were heard by the Divisional Court (Toulson LJ, Royce J and Macur J). Judgment has been reserved.
Barristers: Ben Bradley