Feminist Legal Studies

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 83–91 | Cite as

Legitimate Compassion or Compassionate Legitimation? Reflections on the Policy for Prosecutors in Respect of Cases of Encouraging or Assisting Suicide

  • Hazel BiggsEmail author


This commentary explores the background to, and implications of, the recently published Director of Public Prosecutions guidelines for prosecutors in respect of cases of encouraging or assisting suicide. It considers the extent of the provisions and questions the legitimacy of their focus on the compassionate motivation of the assistant, and the apparent prohibition on healthcare professionals providing such help. It concludes by suggesting that a permissive change in the law would provide better safeguards for those who seek assisted dying.


Assisted suicide DPP Purdy Compassion 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.HEAL (Centre for Health Ethics and Law), School of LawUniversity of SouthamptonHighfield, SouthamptonUK

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