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High court will hear Nicklinson right-to-die case

A high court judge has ruled that the right-to-die case of Tony Nicklinson can proceed.

13 March 2012

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Nicklinson wants a doctor to be able to lawfully end his “intolerable” life after suffering a stroke in 2005 which left him with locked-in syndrome and able only to communicate by blinking. He launched legal action seeking the right for a doctor to intervene to end his “indignity” and have a “common law defence of necessity” against any murder charge.

Mr Justice Charles’ ruling on Monday (12 March 2012) now means that Mr Nicklinson’s case will go to a full hearing, where medical evidence can be heard. The Ministry of Justice argued that this was a case in which the civil courts should not entertain an application for declaratory relief and that the matter should be left to parliament.

Saimo Chahal, Tony Nicklinson’s solicitor, said: “This is a very good result for Tony. It would be completely wrong if the arguments on Tony’s behalf could not be fully argued on the grounds that we should wait for parliament to change the law. The court has a live case before it and is fully able to examine the details in depth and to reach a decision having heard all of the facts evidence and legal arguments.”

The hearing is expected to take place this summer.

Tony Nicklinson said: “This is good news indeed. I am delighted that we can now move on to discuss the pertinent issues properly in a dispassionate court of law instead of the emotionally charged glare of the media.”

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