Isle of Man closer to assisted dying legalisation

28 March, 2024

The Isle of Man moved one step closer to a compassionate assisted dying law today, after its parliamentary committee published its report on assisted dying. Humanists UK has welcomed the report, but urges politicians not to ignore people like Tony Nicklinson, who had locked-in syndrome and fought for his right to die at the courts, and would not be eligible under the proposed legislation.

The report recommended that an assisted death should be based on ‘unbearable suffering’ and that eligibility should be based on having 12 months left to live or fewer, rather than six months. This is a step in the right direction, but it still does not include enough people facing unbearable suffering. 

The report also recommends that residency requirements be increased so only residents of the Isle of Man for five years or more would be eligible.

This news comes on the same day the Assisted Dying for Terminally Ill Adults (Scotland) Bill has been published. 

Millions of people across the world have access to a compassionate assisted dying law that allows people who are suffering to have an assisted death. Switzerland has allowed assisted dying in some form for over 80 years.

Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Spain, Austria, and Canada also have assisted dying laws that allow people who aren’t terminally ill but are undeniably, unbearable suffering, the option for an assisted death. Humanists UK’s recent report with the Assisted Dying Coalition showed that half of assisted deaths of UK residents in Switzerland were for people who would not have been helped by a law limited to the terminally ill. 

This move comes during a massive wave of campaigning across the British Isles, and around the world, on assisted dying. In addition to the Assisted Dying Bill Scotland published today, last week, assisted dying proposals were lodged in Jersey, and a report in the Republic of Ireland recommended a change in the law. 

Last month the UK Health and Social Care Committee released its own report on assisted dying. It stated that end-of-life care can and has improved in jurisdictions that have legalised it.

Nathan Stilwell, Assisted Dying Campaigner for Humanists UK, said:

‘Assisted dying continues to dominate the news agenda recently, due to the swathes of jurisdictions seeking to give people the right to a dignified, compassionate death. This is a historic step forward for the Isle of Man and a correct and compassionate step too. Dying people shouldn’t be forced to suffer.

‘However, this report and the law as it stands right now ignores people who aren’t terminally ill, but are suffering from an incurable condition without any chance of relief. These people deserve the right to at least choose.’  


For further comment or information, media should contact Humanists UK Assisted Dying Campaigner Nathan Stilwell at or phone 07456 200033.

If you have been affected by the current assisted dying legislation, and want to use your story to support a change in the law, please email 

Read six reasons we need an assisted dying law.

Read more about our analysis of the assisted dying inquiry

Read more about our campaign to legalise assisted dying in the UK.

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