UK laws on euthanasia and assisted suicide explained amid calls for a vote on ... trends now

UK laws on euthanasia and assisted suicide explained amid calls for a vote on ... trends now
UK laws on euthanasia and assisted suicide explained amid calls for a vote on ... trends now

UK laws on euthanasia and assisted suicide explained amid calls for a vote on ... trends now

Euthanasia, or medically assisted death, is currently illegal in both the UK and the wider British Isles. 

Though that may soon change.  

Currently any medic or person who performs euthanasia can face prosecution for manslaughter or murder.

Even helping a terminally ill person take their own life, called assisted suicide, is an offence in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

While no specific law on assisted suicide exists in Scotland, helping someone end their own life could lead to a prosecution for culpable homicide in circumstances where a court determines a person's death was not entirely voluntary. 

In theory, such laws also apply to Brits specifically helping their loved ones seek a medically assisted death overseas in countries such as Switzerland. 

Scottish courts have said helping and accompanying someone seeking a medically-assisted death in a country like Switzerland would not normally attract prosecution. 

Those who go, or plan to go, to clinics like Dignitas alone would not be breaking any laws. 

The Crown Prosecution Service investigated 182 cases of assisted suicides between April 2009 and March 2023, the latest data available.

It is not known where they took place, however.  

Four were successfully prosecuted. Another was charged but acquitted,

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