Someone recently bought our

students are currently browsing our notes.


Rodriguez V Ag Of British Columbia Notes

Law Notes > Medical Law Notes

Updates Available  

A more recent version of these Rodriguez V Ag Of British Columbia notes – written by Oxford students – is available here.

The following is a more accessble plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our Medical Law Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:

Rodriguez v AG of British Columbia [1993] 3 SCR 519 Supreme Court of Canada Facts D was a 42yo woman who had a progressively degenerative illness. She had a life expectancy of around a year, and eventually would only be able to breathe via respirator, and wouldn't be able to talk, move or eat normally. She wished a physician to set up a device which allowed her to, by her own hand, end her life when she considered life no longer with living. Lamer CJ (dis)

In my view, persons with disabilities who are or will become unable to end their lives without assistance are discriminated against by [the provision which does not permit assisted suicide]
o since, unlike persons capable of causing their own deaths, they are deprived of the option of choosing suicide. o This inequality is moreover imposed on persons unable to end their lives unassisted solely because of a physical disability,
? the inequality may be characterized as a burden or disadvantage, since it limits the ability of those who are subject to this inequality to take and act upon fundamental decisions regarding their lives and persons.

For them, the principle of self-determination has been limited
? Although at first sight persons who cannot commit suicide and those who can are given identical treatment under [the provision]

they are nevertheless treated unequally since by the effect of that provision persons unable to commit suicide without assistance are deprived of any ability to commit suicide in a way which is not unlawful,

whereas it does not have that effect on those able to end their lives without assistance

It should be pointed out that the advantage which the appellant claims to be deprived of is not the option of committing suicide as such o But that she will be deprived of the right to choose suicide, of her ability to decide on the conduct of her life herself. o Can the right to choose at issue here, that is the right to choose suicide, be described as an advantage of which the appellant is being deprived?
? The Court should answer this question without reference to the philosophical and theological considerations fuelling the debate on the morality of suicide or euthanasia.

It should consider the question before it from a legal perspective

You can say it is unequal and discriminatory from a secular legal perspective without saying it is morally justified to do it.

Is it justified?
o Clearly, the aim of the legislation is to protect vulnerable people from the influence of others in deciding when, whether and how to terminate their lives
? The repeal of the offence of attempted suicide suggests that Parliament was giving consideration to the fact that medical help rather than criminal sanctions were more appropriate

Buy the full version of these notes or essay plans and more in our Medical Law Notes.

More Medical Law Samples