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    Last rites or rights at last: the development of a right to die in Irish constitutional law

    Hanafin, Patrick (1996) Last rites or rights at last: the development of a right to die in Irish constitutional law. Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law 18 (4), pp. 429-444. ISSN 0964-9069.

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    Death has been viewed in cultural terms in Ireland more as rite than right. This view is rooted in deontological ideas about the intrinsic value of life. The sanctity-of-life model has been the dominant model in Irish legal discourse on the topic of the right to life. This model rather than being a flexible one, adapting to the needs of an evolving societal framework, is absolutist. It finds expression in the Irish Constitution of 1937 with its homage to the ideals of classical natural law theory. In recent years, this model has been subject to challenge from another model which appears to offer more in terms of respecting individual autonomy. Following the recent Supreme Court decision in the case of Re A Ward of Court ([1995] 2 ILRM 401), one could argue that Irish constitutional jurisprudence may be commencing to question the traditional sanctity-of-life model in more vehement terms than heretofore. This paper attempts to chart this judicial shift and place it in the context of the more general cultural shift in Irish society from a conservative model to a pluralist model.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Business and Law > Birkbeck Law School
    Depositing User: Sarah Hall
    Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2019 15:08
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:48


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