The Courts have left it up to Parliament -so what next for the right to die issue?
Tony Nicklinson, who was left paralysed by a catastrophic stroke, has lost his High Court battle to have a doctor end his life.
A man whose mind is healthy but is trapped inside a paralysed body goes to the High Court in his campaign to allow doctors to end his life.
"It's not the result I was hoping for but it isn't entirely unexpected. Judges, like politicians, are happiest when they can avoid (contd)
confronting the real issues and this judgement is not an exception to the rule. I believe the legal team acting on my behalf is (contd)
The family of locked-in syndrome sufferer Tony Nicklinson have established an online petition as he waits to learn whether he can be given the right to die.
His daughters are tweeting on his behalf today and appealed for support ahead of the High Court ruling at 2:00pm:
The daughters of locked-in syndrome sufferer Tony Nicklinson are tweeting on his behalf as he deals with press, while awaiting a potentially landmark High Court ruling:
Victory for Tony Nicklinson at the High Court would be a landmark ruling in a right-to-die case and would alter the UK's murder laws.
The locked-in syndrome sufferer wants any doctor delivering him a fatal dose to have a "common law defence of necessity" against any possible murder charge.
Current legal guidelines suggest only family members or close friends, who are driven by compassion, are unlikely to be prosecuted for assisting a suicide.
A second case of a locked-in syndrome sufferer, which is also set for a High Court judgment, could also shift assisted suicide practices.
The man, referred to as "Martin", wants volunteers to take him to Swizerland's Dignitas clinic as his wife is unwilling to help end his life, despite backing his right to die.
A ruling in his favour would widen the pool of people who would be unlikely to face prosecution for assisting such a death.
Locked-in syndrome sufferer Tony Nicklinson is due to learn whether he has won his High Court battle for the right to end his life when he chooses.
Mr Nicklinson, aged 58, from Melksham in Wiltshire, was left paralysed by a catastrophic stroke while on a business trip to Athens in 2005.
He sums up his existence as "dull, miserable, demeaning, undignified and intolerable": a life that he does not wish to live for decades to come.
- It is an offence to encourage or assist a suicide or a suicide attempt in England and Wales.
- Anyone doing so could face up to 14 years in prison.
- To date, more than 100 UK citizens have travelled to Dignitas in Switzerland to die.
- Although some cases have been considered by the DPP, no relative has yet been prosecuted.
In February 2010 the Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer published draft guidance to outline the factors that would determine whether someone would be prosecuted for assisting a suicide.
Tony Nicklinson's legal battle is the latest high-profile right-to-die case to hit the headlines. Others have included:
In 2009 Multiple Sclerosis patient Debbie Purdy won a legal victory in the House of Lords. Ms Purdy successfully argued it is a breach of her human rights not to know whether her husband would be prosecuted if he accompanies her to a Swiss clinic where she wishes to die if her condition worsens.
Sir Edward Downes
In 2009 Conductor Sir Edward Downes and his wife Joan died at an assisted suicide clinic in Switzerland. Downes, who was 85, was almost blind when he and his 74-year-old wife, who had become his full-time carer, travelled to Switzerland to end their lives.
Terminally ill British woman Diane Pretty lost her legal battle to allow her husband to help her commit suicide. The 43-year-old died of motor neurone disease at a hospice in 2002.
Rugby player Daniel James committed suicide in a Swiss euthanasia clinic in 2008. The 23-year-old had become paralysed from the chest down after a training accident. His death was investigated by police.
Jane Nicklinson, the wife of Tony, has spoken of her husband's right to die, saying he is living in mental pain "every second of every day".
Today the Nicklinson family will take their right-to-die case to the high court.
Tony, who is 57, suffers from 'Locked-in Syndrome' after suffering a stroke seven years ago.
Tony Nicklinson recently turned to Twitter so he could tell people why he wants a doctor to end his life.
Hello world. I am tony nicklinson, I have locked-in syndrome and this is my first ever tweet. #tony
Read yesterday that the BMA has recommended it change its stance on assisted dying from anti- to neutral. One small step for a man...?#tony
However many of Tony's followers are trying to persuade him his life is worth keeping.
People want to know if I will change my mind because of Twitter. Let's hear the judgement first and maybe I'll tell you.#tony