22 June 2021
On Tuesday 22 June, the Minister for Health and Social Services published the initial report of Jersey's Assisted Dying Citizens' Jury which reports that 78% of Jury members agree assisted dying should be permitted in Jersey:
- where a Jersey resident, aged 18 or over, has a terminal illness or is experiencing unbearable suffering and wishes to end their life
- subject to stringent safeguards including a pre-approval process; a mandatory period of reflection and consideration; with the direct assistance from doctors or nurses only, as opposed to non-medically qualified staff.
The jury, which was established by the Minister to provide the States Assembly with an in-depth understanding of the community's response to the ethical, medical and legal issues associated with assisted dying, included 23 islanders selected at random to provide a broadly representative sample of the Island's population.
Minister for Health and Social Services, Deputy Richard Renouf, said: "I would like to thank the Citizens' Jury for their time and their commitment to this sensitive and complex issue. It is important to recognise that I am publishing the recommendations of the Citizens' Jury, not the stated position of Government.
"Their recommendations, which are published today, will be followed by a full report by September around which time the Council of Ministers will lodge a report and proposition asking the States Assembly if they agree in principle, with the Jury that assisted dying should be permitted in Jersey subject to appropriate safeguards.
"Clearly the work that the Jury has done will provide invaluable insight for Assembly members who will ultimately determine how to proceed. In the event the Assembly agreed with the Jury recommendations, work will commence on amending the law in consultation with key stakeholders including regulators and professional registration bodies."
The jurors deliberated the issue of assisted dying over 10 jury sessions which took place in Spring 2021. They heard from a range of witnesses and experts from around the world, each of whom was selected to ensure a balance of views. The sessions were independently facilitated and overseen by an Independent Advisory Panel.
The Independent Advisory Panel was set up by the Minister to oversee and ensure the integrity of the jury process and to provide advice to ensure balance. Members are:
•Gillian Arthur, MBE
•Michael De La Haye, OBE
•James Le Feuvre
•Dr Helen Miles
A spokesperson from the Independent Advisory Panel said: "Having overseen the design of the Citizen's Jury and having observed the delivery of the sessions, we can confirm that it is our view that the Jury process was appropriate, balanced and robust.
"It is also our view that the initial report on the recommendations reflects this process, through the inclusion of all the final voting results, and the individual key messages from the Jury participants."
Islanders can view the guest speaker presentations and read the Independent Advisory panel meeting minutes online at gov.je.