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Conceptions of the Euthanasia Phenomenon: a Comparative Discussion of the Merger of Law, Ethics and Morality Within Three Jurisdictions

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date2000
JournalJournal of Civil Liberties
Number of pages38
Original languageEnglish


With the much publicised not guilty verdict in the UK case of R v Moor last year, the phenomenon of euthanasia continues to rear its controversial head in today's society. It is a phenomenon that has tested the boundaries of the law in many different jurisdictions and is the subject of much worldwide debate. An essential part of the euthanasia debate relates to the issue of individual/human rights; should individuals have an enforceable right to exercise their autonomy and direct that euthanasia be practised upon them when their lives possess no quality and have become nothing but a burden them? In considering this question, the impact of certain Articles protecting individual human rights within the European Convention of Human Rights must be assessed; the imminent incorporation of the European Convention into UK law following the enactment of the Human Rights Act 1998 will ensure the continuing relevance of individual rights issues, such as those apparent in the euthanasia debate. Likewise, the important issue of collective autonomy (that is, the right of society as a whole to determine a position for itself through the political process) cannot be ignored and a fundamental question is whether it is possible to balance individual rights with the collective's right to legislate a single standard for 'lawful' euthanasia that is supported by the majority within the particular society...