Ending life – let the Family Court make the decision.

Sir Geoffrey, a former prime minister and well respected lawyer has suggested family court judges rather than doctors should make any final decision when it come to ending a person’s life.

However, ACT Party leader David Seymour said there was no need for its inclusion in his bill to legalise assisted suicide.

The bill is waiting to be drawn from Parliament’s members’ ballot.

Palmer said as well as medical standards, legal standards needed to be met too. So by involving a judges would ensure there was a publicly credible system in place

“In its essential elements it’s connected to the human rights of the person involved. It’s not for doctors to play god on this matter.”

As well as removing doctors from the ethical conundrum some may be faced with, Palmer said the family court was user-friendly, non-invasive and a Skype conference could be used if people were too unwell to attend.

Palmer proposed seven key criteria that had to be satisfied first – all of which are included in Seymour’s bill.

Seymour said he would not rule out Family Court involvement entirely, but he did not see the point.

He says all decisions on euthanasia with the Family Court may hinder a person who wanted to die, from taking part in their own decision,

He believes his bill is similar to the system of voluntary euthanasia in Oregon in the United States, which worked well without a family court’s involvement.

“They haven’t brought in an additional layer of bureaucracy or decision-makers and so yes, it’s an interesting idea, but there’s no reason to think that there’s a serious problem to be solved or that the benefits of having additional people involved in this decision would outweigh the costs.”

However family law specialist Erin Ebborn said a Family Court procedure would not be cumbersome, especially when there were clear procedures being outlined.

“I don’t see safeguards as being bureaucracy and cost.

Palmer, who had once worked with Lecretia Seales, has said the law needed to be changed to “allow her wish to be granted”.


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