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Editor's blog | Autonomy expanded

By ruling that the husband of woman who went to Dignitas after being refused access to lethal drugs in her own country, had his own article 8 rights engaged as a carer, the Strasbourg court has taken autonomy into a new dimension

25 July 2012

Whatever you think about assisted dying cases, they have become an interesting measure of how the courts gradually take the law forward.

Just over ten years ago, Diane Pretty died of motor neurone disease, just weeks after the European Court of Human Rights upheld the refusal by the then DPP David Calvert-Smith QC to give assurances that Pretty’s husband would not be prosecuted if he helped her take her life.

But the ruling had set change in motion. The Strasbourg judges recognised that article 8 right to life was engaged in assisted suicide cases. It was a major step forward for right-to-die supporters and a victory for autonomy of choice.

It took a few years to reach the next significant stage in the campaign. This came with the case brought by Debbie ...

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