Comment of the Day – Assisted suicide: disabled campaigner in 11th hour court challenge by Christopher Hope

A disabled campaigner will launch an 11th hour challenge to plans to relax the laws on assisted suicide at the Supreme Court today.

Alison Davis claims that a legal ruling that forced the change was unsound, alleging the “apparent bias” of one of the judges, Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, now the Supreme Court’s president, who later expressed strong personal views on the subject in an interview with The Daily Telegraph.

In July, Lord Phillips, with four other Law Lords, supported a call to clarify the law on assisted suicide from Debbie Purdy, a multiple sclerosis sufferer. The ruling forced the CPS to draw up new prosecution guidelines.

The deadline to challenge the Purdy ruling is today and in legal papers Miss Davis claims that Lord Phillips’ personal sympathy played a role in the Purdy ruling, on the basis of the interview he gave to The Daily Telegraph several weeks later.

As a result of the ruling, which overturned two earlier decisions by more junior courts, Keir Starmer, the Director of Public Prosecutions, is proposing a new “tick box” approach for prosecutors to decide whether to prosecute someone for assisted suicide. Read in full in the Telegraph.

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