Locked-in syndrome appeal allowed
The family of locked-in syndrome sufferer Tony Nicklinson has won permission to continue his right-to-die campaign by appealing against a High Court ruling that went against him.
Mr Nicklinson, 58, died a week after he lost his legal bid to end his life with a doctor's help.
The father of two had been refusing food and contracted pneumonia after he was left "crestfallen" by the court's decision. He died at his home in Melksham, Wiltshire, surrounded by family on August 22 last year.
The family vowed to continue Mr Nicklinson's campaign, and it has been confirmed that the Court of Appeal has given permission for his widow Jane to bring an appeal against the High Court decision.
The appeal is being seen as an important test case on whether medical help can legally be provided to those seeking the right to die.
Mrs Nicklinson has said that continuing the legal battle is likely to involve a long campaign, fraught with legal technicalities, but the family sees it as "part of Tony's legacy, we're fighting for him, on his behalf".
Mr Nicklinson was a keen sportsman until he was paralysed by a stroke while on a business trip to Athens in 2005.
Three judges sitting at the High Court in London referred to his "terrible predicament" and described his case as "deeply moving and tragic".
But Lord Justice Toulson, Mr Justice Royce and Mrs Justice Macur unanimously agreed it would be wrong for the court to depart from the long-established legal position that "voluntary euthanasia is murder, however understandable the motives may be". They said doctors and solicitors who encouraged or assisted another person to commit suicide were "at real risk of prosecution".
Refusing judicial review, the judges agreed that the current law did not breach human rights and it was for Parliament, not the courts, to decide whether it should be changed. Appeal judges will now have to decide whether or not they agree with the High Court's stance.