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Assisted Dying Citizens' Jury report (FOI)

Assisted Dying Citizens' Jury report (FOI)

Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by Government of Jersey and published on 24 January 2023.
Prepared internally, no external costs.


The final report of the Assisted Dying citizens jury Final Report from Jersey Assisted Dying Citizens’ Jury commissioned by the Minister for Health and Social Services of the previous government contains a table (Page 10) on the demographic make up the jury members.. At the bottom of the table on Page 10, there is a question "Should assisted dying be permitted?". There are the some columns with strata of answers and some figures. It is more or less clear that the data in this table was used as part of the 'Sortition' process to select jury members from the applicants. The first numeric column (50, 29, 8, 12) response to the question "Should assisted dying be permitted?" appears to claim (from the column heading) to represent the views of the Jersey population. The source for this data is listed on page 9 as being from the British Social Attitudes Survey 34 (2017), which is conducted by an independent UK organisation (Nat Cen Social Research), and not by the ONS.

Final Report from Jersey Assisted Dying Citizens’ Jury (

Was any work undertaken by the Jersey government, or any other body commissioned by the Jersey government, to verify that this UK data in this table was representative of the Jersey Population?


Citizens' Juries (plus other deliberative processes, such as Citizens’ Assemblies) use a process known as sortition to ensure Jury members are selected to be broadly representative of the wider population in terms of demographics (age, gender, socioeconomic status etc.) and attitude towards the key issue being considered. Without an attitudinal screening question there would be a risk that those randomly selected may all hold extreme views on the subject, for example all being strongly in favour or all strongly opposed to issue being considered.

The Sortition Foundation was responsible for recruiting people to take part in the Citizens’ Jury, using the sortition method. They did this in consultation with Involve (the public participation charity that led the design and facilitation of the Jury sessions) and Government of Jersey policy officers. Local demographic data was used for the sortition process, where available. Please see page 8 of the link below: 

Final Report from Jersey Assisted Dying Citizens’ Jury (  

The only available data on local attitudes towards assisted dying was the 2019 survey commissioned by the campaigning organisation, End of Life Choices, Jersey. The survey reported that 88.6% of respondents agree that it is ‘always’ or ‘sometimes’ acceptable for a doctor to assist someone to die when they have an incurable medical condition that reduces their quality of life below the level they can accept. Please see the link below:

Research Report for End of Life Choices Jersey.pdf ( 

The End of Life Choices survey was a one-off survey, the respondents were self-selecting and it not weighted to proportionally represent local demographic data. For this reason, it was decided that it would not be used to support the sortition process. Instead, questions asked about Euthanasia in the 34th British Social Attitudes Survey (BSAS) were selected as a proxy for attitudes on assisted dying in Jersey on the basis BSAS has a more robust survey methodology. 

BSAS is run by NatCen, an UK-based independent social research institute. The survey began in 1983 and is used to measure and track changes in people's social, political and moral attitudes. BSAS uses a representative sample of adults aged 18 or over, rather than being self-selecting. The sample is weighted to reflect population demographics. Please see page 11 in the link below: 

British Social Attitudes 2017: User Guide.pdf (

In response to the survey question “Should the law allow for voluntary euthanasia by a doctor for someone with an incurable and painful illness from which they will die?”, 79% responded that it either ‘definitely’ or ‘probably’ should. The survey report notes that “There are relatively few major differences in views towards euthanasia among the major demographic subgroups of the population” and that “the overall trend [in attitudes towards euthanasia] has been relatively stable over time.” i.e. between 75 and 85% of people have been in support of voluntary euthanasia, a form of assisted dying, since the survey began collecting data.  

This is in-line with other research carried out on views towards assisted dying in other jurisdictions, including the research conducted by Ipsos Mori, commissioned by The Economist in 2015 where support for assisted dying ranged from 73 to 84% in Australia, Canada, Germany, Spain and France. The question asked was “Do you think it should be legal or not for a doctor to assist a patient aged 18 or over in ending their life, if that is the patient's wish, provided that the patient is terminally ill (where it is believed that they have 6 months or less to live) of sound mind, and expresses a clear desire to end their life?” See the link below:

Poll Conducted for The Economist Assisted Dying Research June 2015.pdf ( 

The Government of Jersey did not directly undertake, or commission another third party to undertake, a separate survey into attitudes to assisted dying in Jersey. It relied on the robust methodology of the BSAS as a proxy for attitudes in Jersey, noting that BSAS demonstrates a consistency in attitudes towards assisted dying across jurisdictions (i.e., Survey data in UK and beyond shows consistently that between around 70 and 85% of population support assisted dying). UK proxy data was also used for the Jersey Climate Change Assembly.

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