Assisting suicide, the Code for Crown Prosecutors and the DPP's Discretion

Glenys Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The House of Lords decision in Purdy compelled the Director of Public Prosecutions to produce prosecutorial policy guidelines in respect of cases of encouraging or assisting suicide. The document has effectively decriminalized assisted suicide and, as such, has usurped the legislative role of Parliament. Nonetheless, these developments have highlighted the distinctiveness of the assisting suicide offence which, when considered alongside certain criminological theories such as criminalization, victims, harm and punishment, should serve to inform the legislature in the debate these events will surely engender. They may also provide a basis by which the legislature can consider legalizing compassionate assisted suicide.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-203
JournalCommon Law World Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010


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