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Report No. 196

Applications to Court

3. Applications to court should be by originating summons issued in the Family Division of the High Court seeking a declaration in the form set out in para 4 below. Subject to specific provisions below, the application should follow the procedure laid down for sterlisation cases by the House of Lords in F v. West Berkshire Health Authority (Mental Health Act Commission intervening) (1989) 2 All ER 545, (1990) 2 AC 1 and in the Official Solicitor's Practice Note of May 1993 [(1993) 3 All ER 222].

4. The originating summons should seek relief in the following form:

'It is declared that despite the inability of X to give a valid consent, the plaintiffs and/or the responsible medical practitioners:

(i) may lawfully discontinue all life-sustaining treatment and medical support measures designed to keep X alive in his existing persistent vegetative state including the termination of ventilation, nutrition and hydration by artificial means; and

(ii) may lawfully discontinue and thereafter need not furnish medical treatment to X except for the sole purpose of enabling X to end his life and to die peacefully with the greatest dignity and the least distress.

It is ordered that in the event of a material change in the existing circumstances occurring before the withdrawal of artificial feeding and hydration any party shall have liberty to apply for such further or other declaration or order as may be just.'

5. The case should normally be heard in chambers and the judgment given in open court.

Medical Treatment to Terminally Ill Patients (Protection of Patients and Medical Practitioners) Back

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