Students Staff

31 January 2014

Essex lawyer supports legalisation in assisted dying debate

University of Essex lawyer Professor Sabine Michalowski has called for assisted dying to be legalised in some form in a television debate on Aljazeera’s Inside Story.

Interviewed alongside representatives from the Campaign for Dignity in Dying and the Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law at McGill University, Professor Michalowski argued that “lots of patients are demanding assisted dying and so I think the law would really fail them if we simply said we cannot find criteria in order to deal with this appropriately, and control potential abuse.”

Professor Michalowski, of the School of Law, also said that the existing distinctions between assisted dying, assisted suicide, voluntary and involuntary euthanasia could form a basis for legal criteria: “They are valid distinctions, and they give us very clear criteria as to how to distinguish between different sets of cases to which different legal principles can and should apply.”

Speaking about the potential for abuse, Professor Michalowski accepted that abuse has happened in those countries where some form of assisted dying is legal but highlighted that abuse also happens in countries where it remains illegal.

She argued that even in the UK abuse is taking place “because it’s all in the dark, in secrecy, and so there is not even then a discussion about what good practice would be, and under what circumstances it should be acceptable. So I’m, not sure the abuse problem is necessarily helped by simply prohibiting assisted dying completely.”


More information
For further information please contact the University of Essex Communications Office, telephone: 01206 873529 or email:

...more news releases