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  1. ITV Report

Hope remains despite Supreme Court rejection of right to die campaign

A paralysed former builder from Leeds - and the widow of man who had locked in syndrome - lost a right-to-die fight in the UK's highest court but said they were hopeful that change would come.

Paul Lamb has lost his right-to-die campaign

Supreme Court justices ruled against Paul Lamb, of Bramley, and Jane Nicklinson by a seven-two majority following a hearing in London.

Mr Lamb and Mrs Nicklinson, whose husband Tony died nearly two years ago, wanted the court to rule that disabled people should have the right to be helped to die with dignity.

Tony Nicklinson's wife led the campaign with Paul Lamb

Nine justices had been asked to decide whether a prohibition on assisted suicide - outlined in the 1961 Suicide Act - was compatible with the right to respect for private and family life enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights.

Five of the nine justices concluded that the court had the "constitutional authority" to declare that a general prohibition on assisted suicide was incompatible with the human right to private and family life. Two of those five said they would have made such a declaration.

And Mr Lamb and Mrs Nicklinson, both 58, said those conclusions were a "positive" step in the fight for change.

Paul Lamb and Jane Nicklinson Credit: Press Association

"I am very proud of myself," said Mr Lamb, who was left paralysed after a road accident more than 20 years ago. "I know it is going to change."

Mrs Nicklinson - who comes from Melksham, Wiltshire, and whose husband Tony died aged 58 in August 2012 after starting the legal fight - added: "I am disappointed that we lost. But it is a very positive step. Parliament will have to discuss this. I think Tony would be very pleased at how far we have come."

Whilst this is not exactly the result we were hoping for, and it does not provide an immediate remedy, it is nonetheless very welcome as we have succeeded in showing that the issue, despite the controversy surrounding it, is one that the courts can adjudicate on and indeed must, if Parliament does not take action soon to consider the plight of people like Paul. Jane and Paul can be very proud of the fact that they have made legal history in establishing what the courts should do when fundamental human rights are engaged, no matter how sensitive and difficult the moral and legal arguments are

– Saimo Chahal, campaigners' solicitor

Watch: We met Paul Lamb last year and he told us he felt he was being treated worse than a dog as judged denied him the right to die: