Students Staff

20 April 2015

Leading human rights lawyer to speak at Autonomy and End of Life conference

Paul Bowen QC

Paul Bowen QC

Paul Bowen QC who represented right to die campaigner and ‘Locked-in syndrome’ sufferer Tony Nicklinson will be taking part in a major conference on autonomy and the end of life at our Southend Campus this week.

The conference at The Forum Southend-on-Sea on Thursday 23 April is being hosted by the Essex Autonomy Project as part of the University of Essex's 50th anniversary year. This week is marking Essex’s contribution to vital debates around personal autonomy.

The conference will consider the philosophical and ethical implications of end of life decisions, whether we have a right to autonomy in the process of dying and what we can learn from previous cases involving questions surrounding autonomy and the end of life.

In his paper Mr Bowen will explore cultural and social attitudes to suicide in Western thought and their influence on the legality of suicide, assisted suicide and other forms of assisted dying, together with an examination of the human rights arguments for a further relaxation in the law of assisted suicide

Other speakers will include Professor Sabine Michalowski from the School of Law and the Human Rights Centre discussing assisted dying and human rights and Dr Kate Powis from St Helena Hospice talking about dementia and palliative care.

Professor Wayne Martin, from the Essex Autonomy Project, will also discuss best interest decisions at the end of life. He will discuss some of the most vexed and controversial recent cases where patients lacking in decision-making capacity for taking decisions about their treatment nonetheless still express a strong preference for the cessation of life-extending medical care.

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