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In support of a decisional paradigm for assisted dying

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author CarusoDavid, BiedermannAlex, VuilleJoelle, GilbyDanielle,
Project The Regulation of Forensic Science Evidence in Europe
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Criminal Law Journal
Volume (Issue) 43
Page(s) 254 - 273
Title of proceedings Criminal Law Journal

Open Access


In May 2018, a centenarian travelled from Australia to Switzerland to end his life. He was not suffering from a terminal or incurable illness. The deceased travelled to Switzerland because that country permits self-determination of death, unconditional on it being consequential to palliative treatment for a terminal illness. Australia, like the United Kingdom and most developed nations, does not permit euthanasia and assisted suicide is criminal. This article examines the discretionary issues around criminal culpability for the journey of the deceased from Australia to Switzerland for the known purpose of suicide. We argue the allocation of prosecutorial discretion in cases of assisted suicide is contrary to public interest. We consider the decisional framework that informed the centenarian’s decision. We explain why a decisional paradigm, rather than medical, moral or other structures, should inform law and policy regarding assisted dying and give developed nations, such as Australia, cause for reform.