A major debate between the newly-formed Care Not Killing Alliance and Dignity in Dying (formerly The Voluntary Euthanasia Society) on whether Lord Joffe's Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill should become law will take place on 13 March in the Middle Temple Hall, London EC4.
The debate, which has been organised by The Lawyers' Christian Fellowship, will be chaired by High Court Judge Mr Justice Hedley, who was involved in the Charlotte Wyatt case. Putting the case for the Bill will be Philip Havers QC, who acted in two of the most important recent cases relating to the right to die: Pretty -v- UK (House of Lords and European Court of Human Rights and Ms B -v- A NHS Hospital Trust. He will be supported by Dr Margaret Branthwaite MD, FRCP, a barrister who was formerly a Consultant at the Royal Brompton Hospital.
Speaking against the Bill will be Lord Brennan QC who was appointed a High Court Judge in 1994 and has chaired the General Council of the Bar since 1999. He will be supported by Dr Rob George MA, MD, FRCP, a Consultant in Palliative Medicine and a Senior Lecturer in Bioethics and the Philosophy of Medicine.
Each speaker will address the audience, which will comprise leading figures from the worlds of politics, government, the law, medicine, the media and the general public for about 20 minutes, leaving time for questions from the floor before the vote is taken.
Peter Saunders of Care Not Killing commented: “Debates about euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide can generate rather more heat than light, with hard cases and emotional statements all too often replacing serious, reasoned thinking on these key ethical issues.
“The Joffe Bill will be one of the most important potential pieces of legislation to be put before Parliament in the current session. We are very keen that MPs, peers, commentators and interested men and women in the street should be invited to attend this event and make up their own minds about whether or not the law needs to be changed.
“We are therefore delighted to be able to participate in what we are sure will be an excellent debate, featuring four first class speakers – all of whom have direct personal experience and involvement with these very important issues”.
The debate will take place at Middle Temple Hall, Middle Temple , London EC4 on 13 March 2006. It will start at 6.00pm and will aim to finish at about 8.00pm. Tickets, (suggested donation £10 – students free) may be obtained from: