The right to assisted dying: Constitutional jurisprudence and its impact in Canada, Germany and Austria

Article


Braun, Kerstin. 2021. "The right to assisted dying: Constitutional jurisprudence and its impact in Canada, Germany and Austria." Vienna Journal on International Constitutional Law. 15 (3), pp. 291-318.
Article Title

The right to assisted dying: Constitutional jurisprudence and its impact in Canada, Germany and Austria

ERA Journal ID41390
Article CategoryArticle
Authors
AuthorBraun, Kerstin
Journal TitleVienna Journal on International Constitutional Law
Journal Citation15 (3), pp. 291-318
Number of Pages28
Year2021
Place of PublicationBerlin, Germany
ISSN1995-5855
2306-3734
Web Address (URL)https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/icl-2021-0008/html
Abstract

Many states are grappling with the regulation of assistance in suicide and ending the life of another upon their request. Initially punishable in most countries, a growing number of jurisdictions have now introduced permissive frameworks decriminalising, to varying degrees, rendering assistance in dying. Other countries, however, have proceeded with the criminal prohibition and several courts have upheld the lawfulness of the respective criminal laws during human rights and constitutional challenges. Yet, the Supreme Court of Canada in 2015, the German Federal Constitutional Court in February 2020 and the Austrian Constitutional Court in December 2020 have respectively declared unconstitutional and void national criminal laws prohibiting rendering assistance in dying. This article first outlines the criminal law framework relating to assisted dying in Canada, Germany and Austria. It subsequently analyses the judgments before pondering their impact on the legal landscape in the three countries. The article concludes that while the Canadian Supreme Court decision appears to have had a significant impact on the introduction of subsequent legislation in Canada, the effects of the Constitutional Courts’ judgments seem much more subdued in Germany and are yet to unfold in Austria.

Keywordsassisted dying; Austria; Canada; Germany; consitution
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020480412. Medical and health law
480702. Constitutional law
480307. International humanitarian and human rights law
480302. Comparative law
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Byline AffiliationsSchool of Law and Justice
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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