Landmark case allowed to proceed

6 February 2013

Tony Nicklinson has 'locked-in' syndrome and is almost completely paralysed, only being able to communicate using special technology that monitors eye movements.  He has asked the High Court to to rule that any doctor who should assist him to die should not be subject to prosecution.  Mr Nicklinson does not want to die immediately, but simply wants the freedom to be able to choose to if he desires to.
The government applied for the case to be thrown out, on the basis only Parliament could change the law on murder.  However, their application was struck out and the case was allowed to proceed. Whilst the case has been allowed to proceed, time will tell what the final judgement will be. 
This year has seen assisted suicide proposals published, which called for doctors to be allowed prescribe lethal medicine doses to dying people.  It seems that there are various changes called for in the law in such cases, where the quality of life is potentially much diminished.  It remains to be seen whether the law changes to keep in line with the significant medical advances that allow people in these kinds of situations to be kept alive. 

For additional information please contact Susan Young on 01245 493939 or email

The above is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.