The Effectiveness of Legal Safeguards in Jurisdictions that Allow Assisted Dying

98 Pages Posted: 17 Aug 2016 Last revised: 29 Sep 2016

Date Written: January 1, 2012


Evidence from jurisdictions that allow assisted dying is frequently used in the debate about assisted dying in the UK, since it provides important information about how assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia work in practice. However, in order to interpret these data meaningfully, it is essential that they are understood in the context of the different legal and regulatory frameworks in operation in these countries.

The Commission on Assisted Dying has commissioned this expert briefing paper in order to help unpick these complexities, and identify evidence for the effectiveness of the various legal safeguards that have been employed in jurisdictions that allow assisted dying. In the briefing paper the authors identify and explain the features of the legal regimes that regulate assisted dying in four target jurisdictions: the Netherlands, Belgium, Oregon and Switzerland.

They explore the evidence for the effectiveness of individual safeguards in each of these regimes in turn. Then they evaluate the evidence for the effectiveness of each safeguard, drawing on a detailed examination of the evidence, and, where possible, make recommendations on how these regimes could implement and regulate assisted dying more effectively.

Keywords: assisted dying, euthanasia, assisted suicide, physician-assisted suicide, safeguards, regulation

Suggested Citation

Lewis, Penney and Black, Isra, The Effectiveness of Legal Safeguards in Jurisdictions that Allow Assisted Dying (January 1, 2012). King's College London Law School Research Paper No. 2016-35, Available at SSRN: or

Penney Lewis (Contact Author)

King's College London ( email )

London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom
+44 20 7848 1103 (Phone)
+44 20 7848 2465 (Fax)


Isra Black

York Law School ( email )

University of York
Heslington, York YO10
United Kingdom

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