Prospective Legal Immunity: A Disability Rights Perspective on Assisted Dying

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Disability rights advocates have been among the strongest opponents of assisted dying. Yet disabled people have also been among the foremost litigants in cases aimed at relaxing current restrictions. This article attempts to identify some of the competing models of disability rights that underpin these different perspectives. In particular, it is argued that an individual rights model, which gives prominence to the concept of 'discrimination', is insufficient to capture the full range of positions adopted by disability rights advocates. Instead, it is necessary to have regard to alternative models, founded on the notions of minority group entitlement and identity, both of which incorporate insights derived from the 'social model' of disability. The article proposes that once these competing models have been laid bare, it is possible to construct a basis for dialogue between disability rights advocates and proponents of assisted dying founded on an understanding of disability as 'ordinary' and of disability rights as a generalised ethic of 'universal participation', dignity and acknowledged dependence.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: August 1, 2012

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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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