Intention and Causation in Medical Non-Killing: The impact of criminal law concepts on euthanasia and assisted suicide

Glenys Williams

Research output: Book/ReportBook

5 Citations (SciVal)

Abstract

This book criticises the way in which the courts rely so exclusively on the criminal concepts of intention and causation in medical end-of-life decision-making. Although they provide the means by which culpability, blameworthiness and liability are ascribed, ascertaining the mens rea and actus reus elements is problematic in the medical scenario where a doctor’s role and responsibilities (when a patient dies following the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment or the administration of pain-killing medication) distinguishes him from a ‘cold-blooded’ murderer. In looking at a wide range of disciplines, this book aims to raise awareness as to the inadequate and inappropriate legal framework within which judges have to operate. It sets out the way in which they have devised certain ‘defences’ for doctors, and suggests a solution based on formalising these ‘defences’ and creating a medical mercy-killing type offence which would specifically take into account the relevance of motive, context and consent. This would enable a more open and honest approach which would, in turn, provide the certainty, consistency and equality required by the law.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherTaylor & Francis
ISBN (Print)1-84472-027-6
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2006

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