University of Cambridge > > Ver Heyden de Lancey Lectures > Baron Ver Heyden De Lancey Medico-Legal Lecture 2015: 'Voluntary Euthanasia and Assisted Dying: The Position in The Netherlands'

Baron Ver Heyden De Lancey Medico-Legal Lecture 2015: 'Voluntary Euthanasia and Assisted Dying: The Position in The Netherlands'

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Professor Mevis, a leading expert on Dutch criminal law and criminal procedure, is a member of an official body set up by the Dutch government in 2014 to review the current law on euthanasia and assisted dying in The Netherlands.

When Debbie Purdy, the right to die campaigner, died on 23 December, the media reminded us that, in 2009, she had “won a landmark ruling to clarify the law on assisted suicide”. Barely mentioned was the manner of her death: self-starvation. A slow and horrible way to die, chosen, presumably, as the only way in which, being completely helpless, she could end her life without involving others, who would risk being prosecuted for assisting suicide, or even murder. So much good her “landmark victory” did for her, or for others in her unhappy state.

In many other countries, the law enables people in Debbie Purdy’s condition to die in ways that are more humane. Among them is The Netherlands. But there, as in the UK, the law on assisted dying is controversial, and last year the Dutch government set up an official commission to look into it.

The lecture is part of a series of talks on medico-legal topics sponsored by the University’s Baron Ver Heyden de Lancey Fund. It coincides with the creation, within the Law Faculty, of a new Centre for law, medicine and life sciences.

The lecture will take place in LG18 and will be followed by a drinks reception.

Getting there: The Law Faculty is based on the Sidgwick Site, 10 West Rd, Cambridge, CB3 9DZ . For full details:

Parking: After 5pm, there is ample car-parking on the University’s Sidgwick site, and in nearby streets (for example Sidgwick Avenue and West Road).

Bus: Uni4 runs regularly from Addenbrooke’s Hospital to the Law Faculty (West Road).

Previous Ver Heyden De Lancey lectures are available on the Streaming Media Service (

This talk is part of the Ver Heyden de Lancey Lectures series.

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