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Euthanasia and Law in Europe

By: John Griffiths, Heleen Weyers, Maurice Adams
Media of Euthanasia and Law in Europe
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Published: 21-05-2008
Format: Hardback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 648
ISBN: 9781841137001
Imprint: Hart Publishing
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
RRP: £95.00
Online price : £85.50
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About Euthanasia and Law in Europe

This book is a successor to J Griffiths, A Bood and H Weyers, Euthanasia and Law in the Netherlands (Amsterdam University Press 1998) which was widely praised for its thoroughness, clarity, and accuracy. The new book emphasises recent legal developments and new research, and has been expanded to include a full treatment of Belgium, where since 2002 euthanasia has also become legal. The book also includes descriptions written by local specialists of the legal situation and what is known about actual practice in a number of other European countries (England and Wales, France, Italy, Scandinavia, Spain, Switzerland).

The book strives for as complete and dispassionate a description of the situation as possible. It covers in detail:

- the substantive law applicable to euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide, withholding and withdrawing treatment, use of pain relief in potentially lethal doses, palliative and terminal sedation, and termination of life without a request (in particular in the case of newborn babies);

-the process of legal development that has led to the current state of the law;

-the system of legal control and its operation in practice;

-the results of empirical research concerning actual medical practice.

A concluding part deals with some general questions that arise out of the material presented: Is the legalisation of euthanasia an example of the decline of law or should it, on the contrary, be seen as part and parcel of the increasing juridification of the doctor-patient relationship? Does the Dutch experience with legalised euthanasia support the idea of a 'slippery slope' toward a situation in which life-especially of the more vulnerable members of society-is less effectively protected? Is it possible to explain and to predict when a society will decide to legalise euthanasia?

Table Of Contents

1 Introduction

2 The Netherlands and the Dutch Health Care System
3 Recent Developments in Dutch Euthanasia Law
4 Dutch Law on Euthanasia and Other MBPSL
5 Dutch MBPSL Law in Context and in Practice
6 Termination of Life in Neonatology

7 Belgium and the Belgian Health Care System
8 The Legalisation of Euthanasia in Belgium
9 Belgian Law on Euthanasia and Other MBPSL
10 Belgian MBPSL Law in Context and in Practice

Introduction to Part III
11 England and Wales
12 France
13 Italy
14 Scandinavia
15 Spain
16 Switzerland
17 Comparative Data

Introduction to Part IV
18 The Nude Beach Phenomenon: Euthanasia and the Juridification of the Doctor–Patient Relationship
19 Slithering Up the Slippery Slope
20 'Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future'


“Euthanasia and Law in Europe addresses each country individually, providing a helpful background on each's health care system and a historical context for that country's approach to euthanasia...[The] real-world incidents supply some of the most interesting and instructional reading in the book and may be fascinating to those who live in countries where such actions are not only illegal but in many instances viewed as unethical or immoral by large swaths of the population...the authors have written a comprehensive account of euthanasia and current law in Europe that will provide any reader with a solid understanding of the subject.” –  Alan G. Williams, JD, JAMA, Journal of the American Medical Association, 300(14)

“If you want to know everything about euthanasia law in Europe, consult Euthanasia and law in Europe.” –  Joost Visser, Medisch Contact, Volume number 63, (nr. 31-32)

“...for those interested in euthanasia and end-of-life decisions, this is a comprehensive and interesting book.” –  Christof Muller-Busch, European Journal of Palliative Care, Vol 15:6

“I was very impressed by the thorough analysis of Parts I-III...provides a comprehensive analysis of the euthanasia law in Europe...” –  Fabrice Jotterand, HEC Forum, 21 (1): 107-111

“This comprehensive overview volume on the legal regulation and practice of mercy killing in Europe, has three outstanding characteristics: First it offers unique and detailed views of the reality of mercy killing in the Netherlands and Belgium. Secondly, these two detailed contributions are supported by short empirical reports from England, France, Italy, Scandinavia, Spain and Switzerland. Even if I the basic position of the main authors, maintaining the illegality of medical killing on demand or from compassion, remains highly problematic, this volume is greatly enriching and is much recommended.” –  Markus Zimmermann-Acklin, Bioethica Forum, Volume 1, Number 2

“Euthanasia and Law in Europe is a book of real weight - it is superbly researched, consummately serious, and resolutely unbiased. For these reasons, it is an extraordinarily valuable book, and even though it is about European law and practice, its value is not limited to European readers. It also serves as a model of dispassionate discussion for readers elsewhere, including the United States...The book is dense with information about legal, medical, and ethical issues, and heroic attention is given to minute detail...the book is eminently readable, a definitive account of euthanasia
practices, and a model for accounts that might be made of similar practices elsewhere.
” –  Margaret P. Battin, The New England Journal of Medicine, 360;18

“...offers a thorough description of the current situation in Europe as to the [Medical Behaviour that Potentially Shortens Life]. It deserves to be read on all kinds of levels, surely including the Vatican one.” –  Ton Vink, Filosofie & Praktijk, Vol 30, No 1

“Part 1 of the book is crucial reading for those who wish to fully comprehend the current requirements for lawful euthanasia and other MBPSL in the Netherlands and the broader societal context in which these requirements exist...[this] book contains a wealth of valuable information and will undoubtedly be utilised as a 'one-stop' resource for those seeking to discover more about the way in which the Netherlands, Belgium and other European countries have dealt with the thorny issue of euthanasia and other MBPSL. As a study in comparative law, this book is undoubtedly a success. It will certainly encourage other researchers to further analyse the material it presents and engage in the thematic questions the authors raise.” –  Suzanne Ost, Medical Law Review

“The material is presented in a serious, instructive style with factual information accompanied by applicable public policy considerations.” –  Journal of the Commonwealth Lawyers' Association, Vol. 17, No. 3

“This highly impressive work is both a successor to and expansion of the subject matter of Griffiths' and Weyers' earlier Euthanasia and Law in the Netherlands (1998)…One can but hope that the debates to follow are informed by sources as painstakingly researched and cogently argued as this book…” –  Colin Gavaghan, The Edinburgh Law Review, Vol 13, Issue 2

“It is almost unbelievably thorough, and each and every detail is documented. Good and thought provoking chapters address the difficult reflections that spring to mind in this field.” –  Peter F. Hjort (translated by L.J. Materstvedt), Tidsskrift for Den norske legeforen 128: 2357-8

“The scientific clarity of the definitions provided makes possible the terminological and conceptual clarification that is essential if one wants to deal with such matters in a serene and unambiguous way.
Written in simple and flowing English, not at all technical or erudite, the book will be a useful source both for the legal specialist and for the physician, for the sociologist or the journalist, as well as any person who wishes to have a 360-degree look at such complex issues.
” –  Chiara Tamburini (Translated by Graciela Nowenstein), Rivista Italiana di Diritto e Procedura Penale Volume 52, nr 2

“Euthanasia and Law in Europe ... is the definitive book that unpacks existing data on euthanasia, assisted suicide and other medical behaviours that potentially shorten life.
This book ... offers the most even-handed and meticulous examination of practices around end-of-life that I have seen on the topic. It is a must read for anyone interested in learning more about the history, development, and current policies at the end of life in Europe
” –  Frances Norwood, Professorial Lecturer, George Washington University, Review on Amazon

“A valuable and up-to-date resource for serious students of the European experiment with euthanasia and assisted suicide.” –  Robert Orr, Ethics and Medicine

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