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Bills and Laws

Assisted Dying for Terminally Ill Adults (Scotland) Bill

Liam McArthur MSP introduced this Member’s Bill. It will allow terminally ill adults in Scotland, who are eligible, to lawfully request, and be provided with, assistance by health professionals to end their own life.

The Bill was introduced on 27 March 2024


Contents


Overview

Liam McArthur MSP has introduced this Member’s Bill. It will allow terminally ill adults in Scotland, who are eligible, to lawfully request, and be provided with, assistance by health professionals to end their own life. 

To be eligible to be provided with assistance to end their life, a person must:

  • be terminally ill (have an advanced and progressive disease, illness or condition which they cannot recover from, and which is expected to cause their premature death)
  • be aged 16 or over
  • have been resident in Scotland for at least 12 months
  • be registered with a GP practice in Scotland
  • have sufficient capacity to make and understand the decision

Two doctors are required to assess a person as being eligible to be provided with assistance to end their own life. Both doctors also need to be satisfied that a person is acting voluntarily, without being coerced or pressured.

If confirmed as eligible, a terminally ill adult can lawfully be provided with an approved substance by a health professional. They can choose to administer this substance to themselves to end their life. Assisting death outside of what is set out in the Bill would remain unlawful.

Why the Bill was created

Liam McArthur MSP believes adults that have an advanced and progressive terminal illness should be able to decide how and when their life should end. 

Mr McArthur believes that the law in Scotland should allow access to safe and compassionate assisted dying for those who meet the criteria and want it, alongside other palliative and end of life care options. He does not believe that terminally ill adults should have no alternative to the prospect of a prolonged, painful and traumatic death. 

Mr McArthur believes that the lawful provision of assisted dying for terminally ill adults in Scotland will allow people autonomy, dignity and control over the end of their life, and help to make Scotland a more compassionate society.