Dying with Conscience: The Potential Application of Article 9 ECHR to Assisted Dying

38 Pages Posted: 8 Nov 2014 Last revised: 9 Nov 2014

Date Written: November 7, 2014


This article investigates the potential application of Article 9 ECHR’s protection for freedom of thought, conscience and religion to the issue of assisted dying. In particular it analyses the applicability of the right to manifest a belief to individual non-religious beliefs such as a desire to ‘die with dignity’. It argues that, despite recent developments in the interpretation of the meaning of a ‘manifestation’ of belief, the full scope of Article 9 has not yet been utilised by the European Court of Human Rights due to its limitation of the right’s protection to ‘religion-plus-other-isms’ (such as atheism and pacifism). Freedom of conscience, a concept of particular relevance to end of life decision-making in societies where the applicable law is founded, and sometimes still developed, upon Judaeo-Christian values, should be further developed so that it may sit alongside freedom of religion as a core component of Article 9.

Keywords: Article 9 ECHR; Freedom of Religion; Freedom of Conscience; Right to Manifest a Belief; Assisted Dying; Assisted Suicide.

Suggested Citation

Wicks, Elizabeth, Dying with Conscience: The Potential Application of Article 9 ECHR to Assisted Dying (November 7, 2014). University of Leicester School of Law Research Paper No. 14-26, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2520485 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2520485

Elizabeth Wicks (Contact Author)

Leicester Law School ( email )

University Road
Leicester LE1 7RH, LE1 7RH
United Kingdom

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