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Supreme Court considers when court approval is needed to end life-sustaining treatment

Date:3 AUG 2018
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Private Client analysis: Alex Ruck Keene barrister at 39 Essex Chambers examines the Supreme Court’s confirmation in An NHS Trust and others v Y (by his litigation friend the Official Solicitor) [2018] UKSC 46 [2018] All ER (D) 167 (Jul) that it was not mandatory to seek court approval for withdrawal of clinically assisted nutrition and hydration (CANH) from a patient suffering from a prolonged disorder of consciousness (PDOC) where the patient’s clinical team and family agreed that continued treatment was not in his best interests.

What are the practical implications of the judgment?

The Supreme Court has made clear that it is not always necessary to have the approval of the court before CANH can be withdrawn from a PDOC patient and it has also answered the broader question of when it is necessary to go to court before withdrawing or withholding any form of life-sustaining treatment from a person lacking the capacity to consent to or refuse such treatment.

The court found that there was no need to treat CANH in a different way legally from other forms of life-sustaining treatment ...

Read the full article here.