Noel Conway’s assisted dying hearing concludes in High Court

20 July, 2017

Humanist and assisted dying campaigner Noel Conway

Humanists UK member Noel Conway’s claim for an assisted death has been heard by the High Court. The hearing came to an end today, after four days of submissions from his lawyers and from Humanists UK, who intervened in the case in his support.

Humanists UK Chief Executive Andrew Copson commented, ‘The hearing in Noel’s case seemed to go well and we’re hopeful that we will get a positive outcome. It is long past time that those who are of sound mind but are terminally ill or incurably suffering – like Noel, and like Tony Nicklinson and Paul Lamb who took cases before him – are granted the choice and autonomy to end their lives with dignity, at a time and in a manner of their choosing.’

About the case

Noel has motor neurone disease, a terminal degenerative condition which may leave him with only months to live. His case, which is being supported by Dignity in Dying, hopes to establish that the current law is incompatible with the Human Right Act 1998, specifically with regard to Article 8 on the right to respect for private and family life.

Humanists UK was granted permission to intervene in the case in recognition of its long support for attempts to legalise assisted dying across the UK and its particular expertise on this issue. Humanists UK also intends to apply to intervene in a separate assisted dying case in the autumn in support of its member ‘Omid T’, who suffers from multiple systems atrophy. That case will focus on changing the law with regard to those who are incurably suffering.

Humanists UK is being represented in its intervention by Nancy Collins of Hodge Jones & Allen LLP alongside Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC and Graeme Hall, both of Doughty Street Chambers. Ms Gallagher made oral submissions on behalf of Humanists UK focusing on the discrimination he has faced.


For further comment or information, please contact BHA Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson at or on 020 3675 0959.

Read more about Humanists UK’s campaigns work on assisted dying:

At Humanists UK, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. Our work brings non-religious people together to develop their own views, helping people be happier and more fulfilled in the one life we have. Through our ceremonies, education services, and community and campaigning work, we strive to create a fair and equal society for all.

Humanists UK recently changed its name from the British Humanist Association: