Bindmans set for CoA in Tony Nicklinson ‘right to die’ case

Bindmans is taking the Tony Nicklinson ‘right to die’ case to the Court of Appeal (CoA) after his wife Jane was given permission to proceed with her late husband’s legal battle.

The civil rights firm’s partner Saimo Chahal and Doughty Street Chambers’ Paul Bowen QC are instructed on the case which is challenging the legal ban on voluntary euthanasia.

Nicklinson, who suffered from locked-in syndrome after a stroke in 2005, wanted the law to be changed to allow doctors to help him end his life with dignity. He also claimed the current law on assisted suicide is incompatible with the European Convention of Human Rights.

However, in August the High Court ruled against the Bindmans client. The judgment also refused a a joined-up claim from Leigh Day & Co human rights partner Richard Stein on behalf of his physically disabled client ‘AM’ that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) should clarify the law on assisted suicide. Stein instructed Philip Havers QC of One Office Crown Row and Matrix’s Adam Sandell (16 August 2012)

Tony Nicklinson died a week after the judgment and his wife Jane, who is administering his estate, applied to the CoA to take the case forward.

The CoA has made an order that she can take the case to appeal with a protective costs order in place so that she will not be liable for the costs of her opponent.

Chahal said: “The court has rightly recognised that there are very important issues in the case which need to be fully considered by a higher court. The judge granting the orders to Jane also recognised that the claims involve issues of wider public significance in granting Jane Nicklinson costs protection. The next stage is an exciting one in terms of development of the law in the area of choices about ending life with dignity.”

The firm also revealed in a statement that other potential clients had come forward and that it was “possible” a second claimant could join the case.