Conjoined Twins Surgical Separation in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • Nicklinson v Ministry of Justice; R (on the applicaion of AM) v DPP
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 31 Jul 2013

    The Policy certainly does not lead to what would otherwise be an extraordinary anomaly, that those who are brought in to help from outside the family circle, but without the natural love and devotion which obtains within the family circle, are more likely to be prosecuted than a family member when they do no more than replace a loving member of the family, acting out of compassion, who supports the "victim" to achieve his desired suicide.

  • Nicklinson v Ministry of Justice [QBD]
    • Queen's Bench Division
    • 12 Mar 2012

    The first declaration is sought on the basis that the common law defence of necessity is available to a charge of murder in the case of voluntary active euthanasia and/or to a charge under section 2(1) Suicide Act 1961 in the case of assisted suicide provided that: (a) the Court has confirmed in advance that the defence of necessity will arise on the facts of the particular case; (b) the Court is satisfied that the person is suffering from a medical condition that causes unbearable suffering; there are no alternative means available by which his suffering may be relieved; and he has made a voluntary, clear, settled and informed decision to end his life; (c) the assistance is to be given by a medical doctor who is satisfied that his or her duty to respect autonomy and to ease the patient's suffering outweighs his or her duty to preserve life.

  • R (Pretty) v DPP
    • House of Lords
    • 29 Nov 2001

    "Laws are not made for particular cases but for men in general." "To permit a law to be modified at discretion is to leave the community without law. It is to withdraw the direction of that public wisdom by which the deficiencies of private understanding are to be supplied"

    I would for my part question whether, as suggested on his behalf, the Director might not if so advised make a public statement on his prosecuting policy other than in the Code for Crown Prosecutors which he is obliged to issue by section 10 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985. Plainly such a step would call for careful consultation and extreme circumspection, and could be taken only under the superintendence of the Attorney General (by virtue of section 3 of the 1985 Act).

    The subject of euthanasia and assisted suicide have been deeply controversial long before the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, which was followed two years later by the European Convention on Human Rights and Freedoms (1950). But it is of great importance to note that these are ancient questions on which millions in the past have taken diametrically opposite views and still do.

  • Re A (Children) (Conjoined Twins: Surgical Separation)
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 22 Set 2000

    The Convention is to be construed as an autonomous text, without regard to any special rules of English law, and the word "intentionally" in Article 2(1) must be given its natural and ordinary meaning. The Convention is to be construed as an autonomous text, without regard to any special rules of English law, and the word "intentionally" in Article 2(1) must be given its natural and ordinary meaning.

  • R (Nicklinson) v Ministry of Justice (Attorney General and another intervening) R (AM) v DPP and Others (Same intervening) [DC]
    • Queen's Bench Division (Administrative Court)
    • 13 Nov 2012

    Secondly, it would be impractical, if not impossible, for the DPP to lay down guidelines which could satisfactorily embrace every person in Mr Havers’ class 2, so as to enable that person to be able to tell as a matter of probability whether he or she would be prosecuted in a particular case. As Mr Havers rightly observed, the factors for and against prosecution may point in opposite directions.

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Books & Journal Articles
  • Square Pegs in Round Holes: The Dilemma of Conjoined Twins and Individual Rights
    • Núm. 10-4, Diciembre 2001
    • Social & Legal Studies
    The judgment in the English Court of Appeal case of Re A ( Conjoined Twins: Surgical Separation) highlights forcefully the highly individualistic and abstract assumptions that commonly shape the de...
    ...... Court of Appeal case of Re A (Conjoined Twins: Surgi- cal Separation) highlights forcefully the highly individualistic and abstract assump- ... Court of Appeal case of Re A (Children) (Conjoined Twins: Surgical Separation) . The ability of rights discourse and analysis to politicize ......
  • High Court, Family Division
    • Núm. 66-5, Octubre 2002
    • Journal of Criminal Law, The
    ......, most notably in Re A (Children) (Conjoined Twins: Surgical Separation) [2001] 2 WLR 480) ......
  • ‘Thou Shalt Not Kill; But Needst Not Strive Officiously to Keep Alive’: Further Clarification of the Law regarding Mercy Killing, Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide
    • Núm. 77-6, Diciembre 2013
    • Journal of Criminal Law, The
    ......(at [1]) The conjoined appeals in this case concerned ‘ submissions ... in the case of Re A (Children) (Conjoined Twins: Surgical Separation) [2001] Fam 147, albeit in ......
  • Necessity and murder
    • Núm. 79-1, Febrero 2015
    • Journal of Criminal Law, The
    This article argues that there is an alternative and hitherto unarticulated defence of necessity latent in the case law which could be a defence to murder.
    ...... with Re A In Re A (Children) (Conjoined Twins: Surgical Separation) , 16 a hospital ......
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