The widow of locked-in syndrome victim Tony Nicklinson is to pursue the appeal that her late husband would have brought if he was still alive, it emerged today.
Nicklinson failed to convince the High Court in mid-August that friends and doctors should be allowed to help him die without risking prosecution. He died on 22 August after refusing food and fluids. His widow Jane, as his former wife and carer, is now to lodge an application for permission to appeal the High Court decision. The British Humanist Association has also applied to intervene in the case.
Nicklinson's claim is founded on a violation of her own article 8 rights of respect for private and family life, as well as on her late husband's right to a remedy for the breach of his rights that caused him such pain and suffering. The death of a claimant is also no bar to the application for an appeal where, the Strasbourg court has ruled, its 'continued examination… would elucidate, safeguard and develop the standards of protection under the (European) Convention (on Human Rights).'
London firm Bindmans partner Saimo Chahal, who acted for Nicklinson, said: 'Jane's application to take Tony's place in the claim is a strong and compelling one. It is evident from recent polls that around 70% of the public consider that there should be a change in the law in this area. The case has very wide public significance which should be considered by the Court of Appeal and if necessary by the Supreme Court.'
Jane Nicklinson said: 'I am delighted that I am able to continue what Tony started. I feel very strongly that this issue should be addressed. It is too late for Tony, but I hope that we can now help those who find themselves in a similar position. Nobody should have to suffer like he did.'