Law and Life
(Occasional Paper No 21, New Zealand Centre for Public Law, Wellington, 2016)
20 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2016
Date Written: 2016
In this paper, the author considers the case of Lecretia Seales, a senior legal and policy advisor to the New Zealand Law Commission who passed away from a cancerous brain tumour in Wellington on 3 June 2015. In particular, the author traverses the issues that arise in the debate this case has raised. This is achieved through a discussion of the development of the New Zealand criminal law on suicide, an examination of certain philosophical considerations and human rights issues, and a consideration of possible policy directions that reforming legislation could take. It is asserted that the nation’s central democratic institution must not fail in their responsibility to respond to new social developments. The author subsequently concludes that the right of people enduring fatal illness to choose to eliminate suffering and to die with dignity, subject to appropriate protections, should be part of New Zealand law.
Keywords: Criminal Law, Suicide, Human Rights, Legislation, Policy, New Zealand, Lecretia Seales
JEL Classification: K00, K10, K14, K40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation