Judges refuse to permit appeal of right-to-die case
The High Court has refused to permit the case of Tony Nicklinson, who died after losing his legal battle to end his life, to go to the Court of Appeal.
His wife, Jane Nicklinson, has vowed to appeal the ruling directly to the Court of Appeal, stating that the decision was “not the end by any means” of the campaign fronted by her husband.
Mr Nicklinson was diagnosed with “locked-in-syndrome” after suffering a massive stroke in 2005. He died shortly after losing his legal bid in August to permit doctors to end his life without facing criminal charges.
Mrs Nicklinson pledged to continue the case, but judges yesterday (2 October) rejected her application for leave to appeal, stating that they did "not consider that the proposed appeal has any real prospect of success”.
Announcing the decision, Lord Justice Toulson said: "We do not consider that the proposed appeal has any real prospect of success.
“It is, of course, an important question whether the law of murder should be changed in the way that Tony fought for, but it does not follow that permission to appeal should therefore be granted.
“We consider it to be plainly a matter for Parliament.”
The law as it currently stands prevents doctors from ending the lives of their patients, which Mr Nicklinson had said was his only recourse.
His campaign went further in its demands than the usual push from those in support of assisted suicide, in that it sought to permit UK doctors to perform full-scale euthanasia without facing prosecution.*
In a separate development, judges have permitted a second patient with locked-in-syndrome to take his case to the Court of Appeal after he lost his legal bid to end his life in a hearing alongside Mr Nicklinson's.
The 47-year-old, referred to as ‘Martin’, is seeking clarification on whether health professionals are permitted to assist him in travelling to the Dignitas suicide clinic in Switzerland after a major stroke left him paralysed in 2008.
*Assisted suicide refers to one person helping another to end their own life, usually by providing drugs or equipment to do so. Euthanasia refers to a person ending the life of another who is unable to partake in their own suicide (usually due to a paralysing condition).