Sunday 2 October 2011

Re M - High Court Ruling 29th September 2011 - The Right to Die

Article by
Sharon Brown
Many people have been following the sad story of the brain injured lady known as M. It was announced in the press yesterday that Mr Justice Baker in the High Court ruled that M should not be allowed to die.

Her family had argued that they wished her life support machine to be turned off as she was in pain and would not have wanted a life where she was dependent on others. The Official Solicitor and the local authority responsible for her care opposed the application.

The Judge noted that without written express authority by M during the time when she had capacity, he was not prepared to sanction the end of her life. This is an important ruling as it highlights the necessity for individuals to create a health and welfare lasting power of attorney whilst they still have sufficient have mental capacity. This is a legal document which covers eventualities such as this, allowing an individual to say what they require should they be in such an unfortunate position.

Craig Ward of this firm is the author of the Law Society’s text book on Lasting Powers of Attorney (2nd edition) 2011 and says:

“This case demonstrates that it is important for everyone to make a lasting power of attorney otherwise they are reliant upon individuals they have never met to make decisions on their behalf which may contradict what your family know you would have wanted. I believe that Mr Justice Baker’s decision was correct based upon the fact that M could have made a lasting power of attorney expressing her wishes in writing whilst she had capacity but sadly too many people think it will never happen to them when in fact a significant percentage of the population who suffer from brain injury following accidents. Everyone over the age of 18 and those who have an active lifestyle or drive on the roads may be at risk and would best be advised to create a lasting power of attorney.”

Possibly the most tragic part of this whole story is that the heartache could have been avoided if M had completed a lasting power of attorney or advance directive.

If you require any assistance putting your own affairs in order please call us on             01992 422128 or email one of our experts: Tel: 01992 422 128

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.

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