Transparency essential in assisted dying applications

Hugh Scher

Hugh Scher

This article was published by Advocate Daily on February 10, 2016.

While some anticipate that those seeking personal constitutional exemptions for physician-assisted suicide will want anonymity, Toronto human rights and constitutional lawyer Hugh Scher tells Lawyers Weekly that scrutiny and transparency in end-of-life practices are key to detecting and deterring abuse.

Although the Supreme Court of Canada ruled the ban on physician-assisted suicide unconstitutional in its landmark decision last year in Carter v. Canada (Attorney General), the ban has been left in force until June to allow Parliament time to draft a new law. In mid-January, the Supreme Court ruled that those who meet the criteria the court set out last year may apply to a superior court to be exempted from the Criminal Code’s blanket prohibition of assisted suicide.

In the meantime, Lawyers Weekly says some lawyers and judges could be faced with questions such as when should a lawyer take on this type of case, and should counsel seek anonymity for clients.

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