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Family of Tony Nicklinson win the right to appeal High Court ruling

The family of stroke victim Tony Nicklinson have won the right to appeal a High Court ruling last summer that he could not be given the legal right to die with a doctor’s help.

Nicklinson, 58, died from pneumonia at his home in Wiltshire just a week after the judgement. He had been paralysed by locked-in syndrome in2005 after suffering a massive stroke during a business trip toAthens.

After his death, the family announced that they intended to continue his campaign and his widow Jane has now been granted permission to appeal the High Court ruling.

According to a report in the Guardian Jane Nicklinson expects the family’s campaign to be lengthy and face both technical and legal difficulties but she regards it as “part of Tony’s legacy”.

She said: “We’re fighting for him, on his behalf.”

The judges at last year’s High Court hearing said it was for parliament and not the courts to change current legislation.

I think this is a hopeless case. Some observers  might say it’s a bereaved family going through the motions without a realistic prospect of success and I would certainly agree with that. I cannot see how the family can hope to succeed given that their case would require a change in law. Even former Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer made the current legal position crystal clear during a visit to Mr Nicklinson’s home in the run up the court hearing:

He said: “Allowing, in any circumstances, one person to kill another would be a massive moral and practical change in the view that the law takes about taking other people’s lives.”

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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