The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Prospective immunity for assisting a suicide?: excuses, justifications, and real politics

Coggon, John (2012) Prospective immunity for assisting a suicide?: excuses, justifications, and real politics King's Law Journal, 23, (2), pp. 195-205. (doi:10.5235/KLJ.23.2.195).

Record type: Article


This paper provides an evaluation of Roger Brownsword, Penney Lewis, and Genevra Richardson's proposed assisted-dying policy, which would give assisters a prospective immunity from prosecution whilst not decriminalising any forms of assisted-suicide or killing. It is argued that the question of non-decriminalisation is what distinguishes the policy, and thus that its value and feasibility are to be tested by the strength of this distinction. Although an appeal to retention of the criminal law's status quo suggests neutrality, under scrutiny it emerges that the claim only holds if a substantive, and thus necessarily controversial, evaluative position is accepted. The existing criminal law framework formally condemns all assisted-suicide, whilst accepting that in some instances an assister might be excused. The new system, it is argued, relies on a move from a system reliant on excuse to one based on the justifiability of some assisted-suicides. As such, it is argued that the status quo would change. While it is agreed that the proposal may be legally and conceptually coherent, it is therefore concluded that the policy's feasibility, at least in the current political climate, is to be doubted

Full text not available from this repository.

More information

Published date: August 2012
Organisations: Southampton Law School


Local EPrints ID: 342894
ISSN: 0961-5768
PURE UUID: f015144a-e660-469d-82e9-702ee6023e3d

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 19 Sep 2012 10:19
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 05:26

Export record



Author: John Coggon

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.