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Juliet Marlow RIP

It is with great sadness that Not Dead Yet UK must report the sudden and untimely death of our member and dear friend Juliet Marlow. Juliet passed away on the 11th of August after a short illness.

She was NDYUK’s communication guru and lynchpin. She often spoke on our behalf and was responsible for ensuring that our supporters and allies were always kept informed about our campaigns.

Juliet was totally committed to this work and ensured that everyone knew exactly what we were doing, why we were doing it and she helped everybody take our message forward. She devoted a great amount of time and energy to our cause.

But there was also so much more to Juliet’s talents. She researched for us, she wrote for us and she spoke for us, often to very hostile audiences. She was courageous, kind and above all, one of the most generous people we have ever known.

Juliet’s funeral will take place on the 31st of August in Basingstoke.

Our love and prayers go to her family, friends and her partner Keith.

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Noel Conway loses his assisted dying challenge

Phil Friend from Not Dead Yet, which intervened in the case, said:

“We’re pleased that the Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the Divisional Court which had refused the claim that the prohibition on assisted dying is incompatible with the Human Rights Act.

“We’re particularly pleased that the court recognised some of the concerns in our submission around the dangers of legalising assisted dying. These include issues such as safeguards for people who might be at risk of coercion, the difficulties in predicting death within six months, and whether any scheme might be extended (as has happened in Belgium).

“The debate will continue, but we remain firm in our view that assisted dying opens the door to risks and dangers driven by attitudes about disabled people and their lives. It’s worth noting that no disability charity or organisation is campaigning for a change in the law around assisted dying. We want support to live, not to die.

“We’ve seen two recent NHS reports which catalogue the systemic failures to provide appropriate care for disabled people, resulting in their premature and unnecessary deaths. Until disabled people are seen, and treated, as equals in our society, the law must protect them.

“Our thanks go to Fry Law and Cloisters Chambers, which provided pro bono representation.”

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A message from Baroness Jane Campbell

Just to let you know we are in the Appeal Court today! NDYUK were granted permission to make a formal intervention. Our barrister Cathy Casserley will be representing us. As many of you will know she is one of the country’s top discrimination barristers and as given us her time pro bono which is so brilliant as our crowd justice funding legal appeal will only go towards our lawyers’ expenses and when it inevitably goes to the Supreme Court (Win or lose this time around).

The case is likely to go on for three days. Our intervention will probably be heard on Thursday. As I said, whatever the outcome, it will be challenged and go to the Supreme Court, which we are prepared for. As you know this is a crucial case as it will be the first major threat to holding the line against the legalisation of assisted suicide in this country via the court system (bypassing Parliament). If anyone wants to read my witness statement which is a supplementary to my original one, or Cathy Casserley’s on our behalf, then please let me know.

Please make sure that our opposition is as strong as ever by messaging via Twitter and Facebook about our serious intervention in this Conway appeal. Again we are not demonstrating outside the courts because we want to show we are sensitive to Noel Conway’s situation but need to show the judges, the wider implications of his actions.

Unfortunately, I am grounded at home due to a relentless chest infection but Roger will be there watching the proceedings and supporting our lawyers today and Thursday. He will give anyone details of court number etc if they want to also go.

Onwards and upwards!

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We Need Your Help!

As you know Not Dead Yet UK (NDYUK) campaigns against any change to the law on assisted suicide. We believe that allowing assisted suicide would put terminally ill and disabled people at significant risk.  

NDYUK is currently directly involved in challenging legal appeals being brought by Noel Conway and Omid T at the High Court.  http://bit.ly/2I2X4gF Both appeals are being supported by Dignity in Dying and their objective is to change the law in order to legalise assisted suicide.  

Our legal team is led by Catherine Casserly, a barrister at Cloisters Chambers and solicitor Chris Fry from Fry Law. They are providing their time and expertise free of charge (“pro-bono”). Without their extraordinary generosity, NDYUK simply would not be heard in these appeals at the High Court.

Despite our legal team working for free we have and will continue to incur significant costs, such as Court Fees, which the appeals will require us to pay NDYUK has very little money so we are launching an appeal for financial support on the CrowdJustice website This will go live at 8:00am on Monday 26th March. Here is the link http://bit.ly/2I10sZ8

If you are able to make a donation to this vital cause that would be fantastic.

You can also help ensure our campaign is successful by spreading the word. Please forward the link http://bit.ly/2I10sZ8 to your networks, contacts and friends.

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Responding to The BMJ, NOT DEAD YET UK says the case for assisted suicide is “weaker than ever”

Today The BMJ (British Medical Journal) is again calling for the UK law prohibiting assisted suicide to be changed. It is doing this ahead of an event on the subject to be held at the Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) tomorrow (Friday, 9th).

Not Dead Yet UK is shocked that The BMJ has sought to hijack the debate and marginalise the views of terminally ill and disabled people. The BMJ contains several articles advocating for a change in the law but not a single one by a disabled or terminally ill person fearful of a change in the law to permit assisted suicide.

Currently, suicide is not illegal but helping someone else to commit suicide is. The BMJ and others would like the law changed to legalise assisting the suicide of disabled and terminally ill people meeting certain criteria. As such they seek to introduce a form of disability discrimination: assisted suicide only if you are terminally ill or disabled.

Not Dead Yet UK membership comprises disabled and terminally ill people who oppose any change to the safeguards provided by the current law. Our views have been heard and heeded in Parliament and, most recently, at the High Court. Unfortunately, The BMJ does not consider our views worthy of consideration or inclusion in its publication.

Not Dead Yet UK’s Juliet Marlow, who will be speaking at the RSM event said, “Yet again, The BMJ has presented a highly partisan view based on the simplistic assumption that this is a straightforward issue. It is not. As disabled and terminally ill people we know that better than anyone else. Yet The BMJ thinks knows best. How patronising”!

Baroness Jane Campbell said, “Disabled and terminally ill people need the medical profession to help us to live – not to die. The vast majority of the medical profession understands and respects that. I cannot understand why The BMJ does not”.

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NOEL CONWAY TO TAKE CALL FOR ASSISTED SUICIDE TO THE SUPREME COURT

*****NOT DEAD YET UK PRESS RELEASE*****

NOEL CONWAY TO TAKE CALL FOR ASSISTED SUICIDE TO THE SUPREME COURT

Following Not Dead Yet UK’s successful intervention in Mr Conway’s attempts to change the law on Assisted Suicide last year we were saddened but not surprised that he is to take his case further.

We will be seeking permission to intervene again as our position on Assisted Suicide has not changed. We maintain the legalisation of Assisted Suicide would be a dangerous and possibly fatal move for all disabled people in the U.K. While we understand and empathise with Mr Conway’s attempts to mitigate any future suffering we believe that current suicide law is essential to protect disabled and non-disabled people alike in death. To change the law for one section of society would negatively effect the relationship between society and disability, suicide prevention and palliative care as well as the relationship between doctors and their patients.

Not one organisation run by and for disabled people supports attempts to change the law.

More news as it develops.

*************************************

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PRESS RELEASE: Disabled campaigners pleased that High Court rejects legal challenge to suicide law

PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Disabled campaigners pleased that High Court rejects legal challenge to suicide law

Disabled campaigners from Not Dead Yet UK are relieved that the High Court has ruled against removing protections afforded disabled and terminally ill people by the current law prohibiting assisted suicide.

Not Dead Yet UK intervened in the case and was represented in court on a pro-bono basis by barrister Catherine Casserley together with Chris Fry and Millie Broadbent.

This issue was last considered by Parliament in September 2015 when Rob Marris MP’s assisted suicide Bill was decisively defeated by 330 to 118 votes in the House of Commons. Mr Conway and Dignity in Dying (formerly the Voluntary Euthanasia Society) were attempting to override Parliament’s decision by seeking a change in the law through the courts.

Not one organisation run by or for disabled and terminally ill people supports the legalisation of assisted suicide. The medical profession, including the BMA, Royal College of GPs and Association for Palliative Medicine are also against changing the law, believing it would destroy trust in relationships between patients and those providing their medical care.

Disability campaigner and spokesperson for Not Dead Yet UK, Juliet Marlow,  said:

“We welcome the decision by the High Court to reject this attempt to treat terminally ill and disabled people differently by removing vital legal protections. We are looking forward to the national conversation now focussing on the real issue here, which is a lack of adequate social care being provided to people with disabilities. Similarly we need a proper discussion on ensuring adequate palliative care is provided for the terminally ill.”

Speaking for Not Dead Yet UK, co-founder Phil Friend, said:

“A change in the law is a terrifying prospect to the vast majority of disabled and terminally ill people who work hard towards achieving equality for all. Until we have reached that objective assisted suicide will remain a dangerous and prejudiced option, likely to increase suffering and distress”.

Disability campaigner Baroness Campbell of Surbiton, one of the founders of Not Dead Yet UK, said:

“We have successfully seen off attempts to change the law on assisted suicide in Parliament. The law must not be weakened via the back door.”

Liz Carr, star of BBC1 drama ‘Silent Witness’ said:

“Disabled and terminally ill people want support to live – not to die. As a long standing supporter of Not Dead Yet UK I am keen to take an active role in making that happen”.

ENDS

For media enquiries and interviews: please contact Not Dead Yet UK spokesperson:  Juliet Marlow – 01420 477646  / emailnotdeadyet@gmail.com

Feel free to use any images from our Flickr account for articles – these are available in high resolution here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/136198439@N08

About Not Dead Yet UK:

Not Dead Yet UK is a campaigning network of disabled people founded in 2006 to oppose attempts to legalise assisted suicide for disabled and terminally ill people. Not Dead Yet UK promotes equality for disabled people in a secular context; it is not faith centred or allied to any organised religion. Its supporters come from all sections of the community. Its guiding principles are to value the lives of terminally ill and disabled people and oppose assisted suicide.

 

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Not Dead Yet UK to submit evidence to court in Noel Conway case

********PRESS RELEASE: 20 JULY 2017 @ 08:00********

_______________________________________________________________

FINAL DAY OF NOEL CONWAY HIGH COURT CASE
NOT DEAD YET UK TO PRESENT EVIDENCE IN OPPOSITION TO
THIS LATEST ATTEMPT TO LEGALISE ASSISTED SUICIDE _________________________________________________________

 

Today is the final day of hearings in the High Court in the case brought by Mr Noel Conway in an attempt to legalise Assisted Suicide.

It will be the only opportunity for Not Dead Yet UK’s barrister, Ms Catherine Casserley to make oral representation to the Court. She will argue that to legalise Assisted Suicide would be against the interests of disabled and terminally ill people. The Court has Ordered that she must complete her submission within just 30 minutes.

Ms Casserley will make use of written evidence provided to the Court by Not Dead Yet UK Founder Baroness Jane Campbell. She, like Mr. Conway, is dependent upon a ventilator to breath. Baroness Campbell is co-founder of Not Dead Yet UK and has full support from its members, some of which also submitted written statements to the court.

Baroness Campbell said, “I am pleased that the Ministry of Justice is robustly defending this case. However, it is essential that the voice of disabled people is heard as this matter affects us directly. Disabled people need assistance to live – not to die”.

Notes To Editors
1. Not Dead Yet UK is a campaigning network of disabled people founded in 2006 to oppose attempts to legalise assisted suicide for disabled and terminally ill people.

2. Not Dead Yet UK promotes equality for disabled people in a secular context; it is not faith centred or allied to any organised religion. Its supporters come from all sections of the community. Its guiding principles are to value the lives of terminally ill and disabled people and oppose assisted suicide.

3. Not Dead Yet UK’s full statement can be found at

Not Dead Yet UK Statement on Mr Noel Conway’s legal case

4. Not Dead Yet UK’s ‘pro-bono’ legal team is Catherine Casserley, of Cloisters Chambers and Chris Fry of solicitors Fry Law.

For media enquiries and interviews please contact:
NDY-UK Phil Friend M 07774 944246 E phil.friends@sky-mail.net
NDY-UK Juliet Marlow T 01420 477646 E jemwriter@sky.com
NDY-UK Roger Symes T 07789 901892 E rogersymes@btconnect.com
NDY-UK Agnes Fletcher M 07748 333565 E agnes.fletcher@talktalk.net
Fry Law Chris Fry M 07837119211 E Chris.Fry@frylaw.co.uk
Read what disabled people are saying at
www.notdeadyetuk.org
@notdeadyetuk

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PRESS RELEASE: Not Dead Yet UK to intervene in Noel Conway court case

www.notdeadyetuk.org

********PRESS RELEASE: 16 JULY 2017 @ 14:00 ********

DISABLED AND TERMINALLY ILL PEOPLE INTERVENE TO STOP
NEW ATTEMPT TO LEGALISE ASSISTED SUICIDE 

Lawyers acting for Not Dead Yet UK will go to the High Court on Monday (July 17) to intervene in the legal challenge being bought by Mr Noel Conway to remove protections afforded disabled and terminally ill people by the current law prohibiting Assisted Suicide.

Not Dead Yet UK will be represented in Court on a pro-bono basis by barrister Catherine Casserley of Cloisters chambers together with and Chris Fry and Millie Broadbent of solicitors Fry Law.

Not Dead Yet UK recognises and empathises with Mr Conway’s fears for his future but we cannot support his action as we believe legalising Assisted Suicide by any means would put other disabled and terminally ill people at risk. We support his right for all medical, social and emotional support necessary for his life to end naturally and with dignity.

Not Dead Yet UK maintains any imposed safeguards will never be watertight enough to successfully protect all ill and disabled people from a change to the Suicide Act. The Act currently provides much needed protection to disabled and terminally ill people by prohibiting anyone from assisting another person to kill themselves. Even if only one person dies against their wishes as a result of a change to the law that is one death too many and completely unacceptable. We argue that disabled and terminally ill people are just as entitled to this protection as everyone else; to single out one group of society as different to the rest is a dangerous move and will be open to misinterpretation. Legalising Assisted Suicide for disabled and terminally ill people would again set us aside from the rest of society. We would effectively be second class citizens again, with suicide seen as a valid choice for us while non-disabled people would be encouraged to live.

This issue was last considered by Parliament almost two years ago (September 2015) when Rob Marris MP’s “Assisted Dying Bill” was decisively defeated by 330 to 118 votes in the House of Commons. Mr Conway is now attempting to override Parliament’s decision by seeking a change in the law through the Courts.

Not Dead Yet UK notes that not one organisation run by or for disabled and terminally ill people supports the legalisation of Assisted Suicide. The medical profession is also against changing the law, believing it would destroy trust in relationships between patients and those providing their medical care.

Disability campaigner Baroness Campbell of Surbiton, one of the founders of Not Dead Yet UK said,

“We have successfully seen off attempts to change the law on Assisted Suicide in Parliament. Now we must change tactics to ensure the Courts continue to uphold our equal right to life. The law must not be weakened via the back door.”

Speaking for Not Dead Yet UK, co-founder Phil Friend said,

“A change in the law is a terrifying prospect to the vast majority of disabled and terminally ill people who work hard towards achieving equality for all. Until we have reached that objective Assisted Suicide will remain a dangerous and prejudiced option, likely to increase suffering and distress”.

Liz Carr, star of BBC1 drama ‘Silent Witness’ states,

“Disabled and terminally ill people want support to live – not to die. It is important that the Court hears from the people most at risk from any change to the current law. As a long standing supporter of Not Dead Yet UK I am keen to take an active role in making that happen”.

 

ENDS

Notes to editors:

1. Not Dead Yet UK is a campaigning network of disabled people founded in 2006 to oppose attempts to legalise assisted suicide for disabled and terminally ill people.

2. Not Dead Yet UK promotes equality for disabled people in a secular context; it is not faith centred or allied to any organised religion. Its supporters come from all sections of the community. Its guiding principles are to value the lives of terminally ill and disabled people and oppose assisted suicide.

3. Feel free to use any images from our Flickr account for articles – these are available in high res here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/136198439@N08

 

For media enquiries and interviews please contact:

NDY-UK – Phil Friend – M 07774 944246 E phil.friends@sky-mail.net

NDY-UK – Juliet Marlow – T 01420 477646  E jemwriter@sky.com

NDY-UK -Agnes Fletcher – M 07748 333565 E agnes.fletcher@talktalk.net

Fry Law – Chris Fry – M 07837119211 E Chris.Fry@frylaw.co.uk

NDYUK Roger Symes – T 020 7362 0220 E roger@wpjobson.co.uk

Read what disabled people are saying at http://notdeadyetuk.org/

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Not Dead Yet UK Statement on Mr Noel Conway’s legal case

***Updated 16 July, 2017***

 

While we empathise with Mr Conway in his attempts to avoid ang end-of-life suffering we do not agree that this is an inevitable experience of life and death. We also strongly maintain that changing the law to allow physician Assisted Suicide will endanger the lives of the UK’s many ill and disabled people who, with the right amount of appropriate care and support can and do achieve a peaceful passing. Palliative care is already seriously underfunded in the U.K. and we believe that legalising Assisted Suicide will negatively impact on an already unestimated service. More importantly, this type of support allows disabled and ill people to live full and enjoyable lives, with no fear of unnecessary death from coercion, error or human prejudice holding them back.

We also believe that legalising Assisted Suicide will negatively impact on how continuing illness and the lives of disabled people are viewed as a part of contemporary society. We know from our own extensive and varied experiences and research that the medical knowledge and facilities already exist to ensure a peaceful death for the majority of people who die as a result of illness and we campaign for those to become commonplace in all palliative care situations. We have seen no evidence to support the claim that the only way to ensure a so-called ‘good death’ is to utilise Assisted Suicide and instead choose to campaign for better end-of-life care through person centred palliative and medical support. While we acknowledge that mistakes are made during end-of-life we do not believe that potentially compounding those errors by adding serious risk to the rights and funding of those who choose to live is the best or safest way forward. Coupled with the fact that medical professionals often make errors when giving patients an accurate timescale with prognosis we believe that rather than ending suffering, the legalisation of physician Assisted Suicide will add to it.

We passionately challenge the notion of ‘dignity’ as used by Mr Conway and his supporters at Dignity in Dying. As disabled people and their allies, many who rely on daily practical, physical and medical assistance to survive we suggest instead that dignity is simply a perception in the eye of the beholder and is therefore as changeable and unique as each individual person. It is not illness and disability that effect a person’s perceived ‘dignity’ but the way that society values or devalues their existence as opposed to those with no impairment. It is not a real state. It is also too often wrongly associated with the loss of physical ability. As long as disability, continuing & terminal illness alone are considered enough reason to want to die then we are certain that there will be no equality to protect us in death.

These beliefs have compelled us to launch a legal intervention to Mr Conway’s attempts to change the law. We do not seek to punish him nor do we want anyone to suffer during their life or death. But we do not accept that the only way to guarantee a ‘good death’ is to risk the lives of others and instead will continue to campaign for truly equal rights for all ill and disabled people so that living with impairment is no longer perceived as ‘undignified’ and death by illness is not uniquely viewed as a ‘bad death’.

We support people everywhere who continue to fight for access to appropriate care and support in life as well as effective and appropriate palliative care and support in death.

 

16 July, 2016

Juliet Marlow
Not Dead Yet UK