Professor Richard Huxtable - inaugural lecture

Professor of Medical Ethics and Law
Social and Community Medicine

This lecture took place on Monday 31 October 2016

Assisted Dying, Ethics and the Law: For, Against, or Somewhere in Between?

Although it is traditionally averse to (physician) assisted dying, English law is currently re-assessing its approach, and there is the possibility that the law might change in the future and allow the practice. Whether the law should change is, of course, a significant ethical question. In this presentation, Professor Richard Huxtable maps the current legal position with regards to assisted dying i.e. assisted suicide and active voluntary euthanasia. Significant legal developments are described, which indicate that the law is gradually relaxing. From here we move to consider the crucial question: should assisted dying be allowed? Here Professor Huxtable traces the different ethical and legal arguments offered in support of, and opposition to, such proposals, and offers some reflections on whether it might be appropriate and possible to achieve a compromise on this difficult question.