Citizens jury on assisted dying urge States Assembly to 'listen' to their findings

Credit ITV Channel TV
The Citizens' Jury is made up of 23 Jersey residents, selected at random to broadly represent the island's population. Credit: ITV Channel TV

A citizen's jury that voted overwhelmingly in favour of legalising assisted dying in Jersey, has urged the States Assembly to listen to their findings when they come to vote on the topic later this year.The initial recommendations were released in June and showed that 78% of the 23-strong jury were in favour of legalising assisted dying.

This is on the condition that:

  • A Jersey resident aged 18 or over, has a terminal illness or is experiencing unbearable suffering and wishes to end their life;

  • Subject to stringent safeguards including a pre-approval process, a mandatory cooling off period and with the direct assistance from doctors and nurses only, as opposed to non-medically qualified staff.

The full report includes further detail on the voting process, and how the jury reached their conclusions, with their individual reflections.

It will be submitted to States Members alongside a proposition which is due to be lodged with the Assembly later this year, with a debate expected in November or December.

The citizens jury was commissioned in Spring this year to consider the question, 'Should assisted dying be permitted in Jersey, and if so, under what circumstances?'

They heard from a range of speakers throughout ten two and a half hour jury sessions, before completing three different votes.In the report they describe their feelings of the process and the question itself, as 'a lot more complicated than first thought'. 

Members also spoke of going on 'a journey', which was at times 'emotionally challenging'.

The full report comes just days after the British Medical Association (BMA) agreed to move to a position of neutrality on a change in the law on assisted dying.

Last year, the largest ever survey of medical opinion on assisted dying found a majority (61%) of members disagreed with the BMA’s longstanding opposition to law change on the topic. 

Their full report has now been released and the findings are expected to be debated by the States Assembly later this year.