Mark Pawlowski reviews the Court of Appeal’s latest ruling on the application of the forfeiture rule in relation to assisted suicide and considers circumstances where judges will likely grant relief from the rule
The common law rule of public policy, which prevents a person who has unlawfully killed another from profiting from that death, is intended to act as a disincentive to criminal activity and to reflect public conscience. At the same time, the Forfeiture Act 1982 is intended to militate against the strict application of this rule by giving the court power to grant relief to persons found guilty of unlawful killing (other than murder) from forfeiture of their inheritance and other similar rights. Two recent cases have examined the question of relief in the specific context of assisted suicide.
Relief against forfeiture
The Forfeiture Act 1982 empowers the court to grant relief to a person who has unlawfully kill...