Assisted Dying Law Reform: Overcoming the Painful Process that Leads to a Painless Death

Tudosie, Elena Roxana (2023). Assisted Dying Law Reform: Overcoming the Painful Process that Leads to a Painless Death. PhD thesis The Open University.



The assisted dying debate in the legal jurisdiction of England and Wales is nearing a determining moment, therefore, this thesis analyses the factors concerning assisted dying law reform. This study argues that the criminal law and its response to instances of assisted suicide under Section 2 of the Suicide Act 1961, is merely a coping mechanism, an ‘untidy compromise’ designed to uphold the interests of ‘compassionate-helpers’. It does not meet the needs of ‘death-seekers’. Since the Human Rights Act 1998 came into force, the legal judgments in this area reveal judicial deference to the current construct of the law and the Westminster Parliament’s wish to uphold the so-called blanket prohibition.

The legislative attempts since 1936, the challenges on compatibility of the prohibition with the European Convention on Human Rights, as well as the prosecutorial decision-making process, have failed to address this cauldron of disquiet. This thesis asserts that the question on assisted dying ought to be addressed fully, with the Government providing Parliamentary time as a matter of urgency. The experience of COVID-19 has revealed the struggles endured in achieving a painless and good death. Care home deaths, and dying alone at home and elsewhere in lockdown, deepened the need to talk about death and dying.

Moreover, legal systems around the world are increasingly demonstrating there are clear ways forward to implementing access to various forms of assisted death. It would appear, therefore, that given the current climate the possibility exists for the jurisdiction of England and Wales to achieve assisted dying law reform.

Viewing alternatives

Download history


Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions

Item Actions