Marrying your sibling by accident: myth or reality?

In what may very possibly be a piece of “fake news” (aka “lies”), the Mississippi Herald website reported that a married couple had discovered they were twins after they went to a fertility clinic to find out why the wife was faling to conceive

According to the report, they had been separated at an early age when their parents died in a car crash and, because of what the report describes as “a filing error”, neither family knew that its foster-child had a twin. Continue reading

Assisted dying: appeal allowed in R (Conway)

As regular readers will be aware, Mr Noel Conway suffers from Motor Neurone Disease, and while he retains the capacity to make the decision, he wishes to enlist the assistance of a medical professional to bring about his death in a peaceful and dignified way. He applied unsuccessfully for judicial review to seek a declaration under s 4(2) Human Rights Act 1998 that s 2(1) of the Suicide Act 1961 – which provides that a person commits a criminal offence if he or she does an act capable of encouraging or assisting the suicide or attempted suicide of another person and their act was intended to encourage or assist suicide or an attempt at suicide – is incompatible with the ECHR. S 2(1). In [2017] EWHC 640 (Admin), Burnett LJ and Jay J refused his application: Charles J dissented. We noted it here.

In this latest judgment however, R (Conway) v Secretary of State for Justice [2017] EWCA Civ 275, McFarlane and Beatson LJJ concluded that permission to appeal and permission to apply for judicial review should be granted, and they remitted the matter to the Divisional Court to hear and determine the case. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 9th April

“Egg-bound” thinking by Church and State this week…

… but un oeuf is un oeuf, and so no more egg-related puns. However, we certainly didn’t expect the CofE Easter story statement to be about the “Trinity of Chocolate” (Cadbury, Rowntree and Fry). It was left to Dr Michael Sadgrove, Dean Emeritus of Durham, to inject a degree of sanity into the Church’s position in his comments to the Church Times.

Gratefully accepting a gift-horse of a metaphor, the BHA described it as a storm in an eggcup; it was a gift to the cartoonists and bloggers, while Quakers might shed a silent tear for three businesses founded by Friends. Meanwhile, the willingness of Theresa May to wade into this media-generated nonsense emphasized her lack of action on weightier matters. David Tollerton, of Exeter University, suggests that the whole affair is redolent of “dog-whistle politics”: an undercooked mess that feeds English nationalism, while Esther McConnell, a direct descendant of John Cadbury, pointed out in a tweet that, as a Quaker, he didn’t celebrate Easter anyway.

A busy week in the courts Continue reading

Assisted dying again: R (Conway)

By 2:1, the Administrative Court has dismissed the application of Mr Noel Conway for a declaration that s 2(1) of the Suicide Act 1961 breached his human rights under Articles 8(1) and 14 ECHR.

Background

In R (Conway) v Secretary of State for Justice [2017] EWHC 640 (Admin), Mr Conway, aged 67, had been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. A time would come when he would be told that he had less than six months to live and he wished at that point, while still able to make the decision himself, to die with medical assistance. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 26th March

A week in which events were totally overshadowed by the attack in Westminster

A thoughtful consideration of those events from an insider’s point of view was presented by the Rt Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds, in his Yorkshire Post article From a Palace of democracy to an Abbey of prayer, the best and worst of humanity, written just two hours after the end of the lockdown of parliamentarians and others, who had been transferred to Westminster Abbey.

Progress on Brexit

Prior to the Commons consideration of the Pension Schemes Bill [Lords] and the subsequent adjournment and lockdown of the parliamentary estate, a first reading was given to Tim Farron’s Ten Minute Rule Bill, Terms of Withdrawal from the European Union (Referendum). A second reading was scheduled for Friday 12 May – although its chances of becoming law are zero. Continue reading

“Three-parent babies” in UK from 2018?

Further progress towards the application of mitochondrial donation

Following the 15 December announcement by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) that it had approved “the cautious use of mitochondrial donation in treatment, we posted Three-parent babies” in UK from 2017?” The HFEA has now announced that it has granted the first UK licence to the team at the Newcastle Fertility at Life , which indicated that, realistically, Continue reading