In 2018 an e-petition was launched calling for the States Assembly to amend Jersey law and allow for assisted dying. 1,861 people signed the petition. This was followed in 2019 by an online public survey, a GP and doctors' survey and a public meeting, which indicated that there are people in our community who support assisted dying.
The Minister for Health and Social Services has committed to establishing a Citizens' Jury to consider whether assisted dying should be permitted in Jersey.
About assisted dying
Assisted dying is where a person suffering from a terminal illness or incurable condition is helped to take their own life. They are usually assisted by a doctor who either provides, or administers, lethal drugs.
About Citizens' Juries
Citizens' Juries are used all over the world to look at complex issues and make recommendations.
The Assisted Dying Citizens' Jury will take place via online sessions in Spring 2021. The Jury will be selected at random through a process called sortition and will demographically represent the Island's population. The group of 18 to 24 Jersey residents will meet to discuss whether assisted dying should be permitted in Jersey and, if so, in what circumstances.
The Jury will make recommendations that will be discussed by the States Assembly before the end of 2021.
When the Jury will happen
There will be 10 online jury sessions starting in Spring 2021. Each session will be between two and two and half hours long. The sessions are due to take place on the following dates:
- Thursday 18 March (session 1)
- Saturday 20 March (sessions 2 and 3)
- Saturday 10 April (sessions 4 and 5)
- Saturday 24 April (sessions 6 and 7)
- Thursday 13 May (session 8)
- Saturday 15 May (sessions 9 and 10)
Become a member of the Jury
Invitations will be sent to a random sample of over 4,000 Jersey addresses in early January 2021. Anyone, aged 16 or over, who lives at those addresses and who wants to be a Jury member can register their interest by Monday 25 January 2021.
Not everyone who registers their interest will be selected as the Jury will only include 18 to 24 people, and those people need to broadly represent the Island's population. Islanders who are selected to take part will receive £300 as a thank you for their time.
You don't need any prior knowledge about assisted dying to take part. All that is required is a willingness to listen to the information presented and share your views with other members of the Jury.
One-to-one training will be provided, if needed, to help make sure you can take part in the online discussions. If you have your own device with video capability (a laptop or a tablet is best), and your own internet connection then you should be able to access the sessions from home.
If you do not have a suitable device or internet connection, then help will be provided where needed to make sure you can participate in the same way as others.
Who will run the Jury
Independent advisory panel
An independent advisory panel has been set up to oversee the planning for the Jury and ensure the integrity of the process. The members of the advisory panel are:
- Gillian Arthur, MBE
- Michael De La Haye, OBE
- James Le Feuvre
- Dr Helen Miles
Supporting the Jury process and selection of Jury members
The independent public participation charity Involve will support the design and set-up of the process. They will also liaise with all participants, facilitate the Jury sessions and support participants to report back their recommendations to the States Assembly.
The Sortition Foundation has been appointed to randomly select people to take part in the Jury, in a way that is broadly representative of the Island's population.
Independent Advisory Panel - Terms of reference