KANTIAN PRINCIPLE AND THE RIGHT TO LIFE IN LEGAL JUDGEMENT: THE CASE OF THE CONJOINED TWINS

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Abstract:

This paper examines the role of Kantian liberal principle in the realm of judicial decision-making. The paper focuses upon the way in which liberal principles such as universality, the individual and the right to life are constructed in legal language in instances that require a “choice of lives” to be made. The legal reference will be <>, the recent case of the conjoined twins. Involving the problem of the justification of ending one person's life in order to save another, the case raises the question of the role of liberal principle of the right to life as a moral concept. Examining the rhetoric of threat and disaster used by the judges of the Court of Appeal in describing the dilemma, it is argued here that the interpretation of the right to life in situations of dilemma contains both principled and supposedly external utilitarian logic.

Keywords: Conjoined Twins; Kant; Liberalism; Principle; Rawls; Re A; Right to Life; Universal; Utilitarian; criminal law; judicial interpretation; medical law; necessary death

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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  • Until 2007 the King's Law Journal was known as the King's College Law Journal. It was established in 1990 as a legal periodical publishing scholarly and authoritative Articles, Notes and Reports on legal issues of current importance to both academic research and legal practice. It has a national and international readership, and publishes refereed contributions from authors across the United Kingdom, from continental Europe and further afield (particularly Commonwealth countries and USA). The journal includes a Reviews section containing critical notices of recently published books.
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