Right-to-die: Supreme Court to rule on assisted suicide

Justices have been asked to decide whether a prohibition on assisted suicide is compatible with the right to respect for private and family life

The widow of a man who had locked-in syndrome and a paralysed former builder are waiting to hear whether they have won a right-to-die fight in the UK's highest court.

Jane Nicklinson and Paul Lamb have asked the Supreme Court to rule that disabled people should have the right to be helped to die with dignity.

Nine Supreme Court justices analysed the issue at a hearing in London in December and are due to rule today.

A Supreme Court spokesman says justices have been asked to decide whether a prohibition on assisted suicide - outlined in the 1961 Suicide Act - is compatible with the right to respect for private and family life enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights.

Mrs Nicklinson and Mr Lamb have argued that the law should include a “defence of necessity”.

They say doctors should be allowed to assist suicide when people have a “voluntary, clear, settled and informed” wish to end their life but cannot do so without medical assistance.

The issue has already been analysed by the High Court and Court of Appeal.

Mr Nicklinson started the legal fight.

Mrs Nicklinson, who is in her late 50s and comes from Melksham, Wiltshire, says she and fellow campaigners have done all they can.

Her husband Tony - who started the legal fight - died aged 58 in August 2012.

Mr Lamb, who is also in his late 50s and comes from Bramley, Leeds, was left paralysed after a 1990 road accident.

PA

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