A person commits an offence if he wilfully falsifies or forges a declaration
made or purporting to be made under section 4 with the intent or effect of
causing the patient’s death.
A person guilty of an offence under subsection (1) shall be liable, on conviction
on indictment, to imprisonment for life.
A person commits an offence if he makes a statement as a witness to a
declaration made, or purporting to be made, under section 4 that he knows to
A person commits an offence if he wilfully conceals or destroys a declaration.
A physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or member of a health care team who
takes any part in assisting a qualifying patient to die, or who gives an opinion
in respect of such a patient, and who has grounds for believing that he will
benefit financially or in any other way, except for his proper professional fees
or salary, as the result of the death of that patient, contrary to section 8(5)
A person guilty of an offence under subsections (3) to (5) shall be liable on
conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years
No provision of this Act shall be taken to affect a person’s liability on
conviction to criminal penalties for conduct which is inconsistent with the
No policy of insurance which has been in force for 12 months as at the date of
the patient’s death shall be invalidated by reason of a physician having assisted
a qualifying patient to die in accordance with this Act.
Requirements as to documentation in medical records and reporting
The assisting physician shall ensure that the following are documented and
filed in the patient’s medical records—
all evidence, data and records which demonstrate that the qualifying
conditions have been met;
any written request by the patient for assistance to end his life;
a note by the assisting physician stating that he was satisfied, at the date
and time of his having assisted the patient to die, that all requirements
under this Act had been met and indicating the steps taken to end the
patient’s life including the description and quantity of the medication
and any means of self-administration prescribed or provided.
The assisting physician shall send a copy of each of the documents referred to
in subsection (1) of this section to the monitoring commission for the region
concerned within seven days of the qualifying patient having been assisted to
die or of an attempt so to assist having been made.
The Secretary of State shall by order establish such number of monitoring
commissions covering regions forming parts of England and Wales as he may
determine, to review the operation of this Act and to hold and monitor records
maintained pursuant to this Act.
A monitoring commission shall consist of three members appointed by the
Secretary of State, of whom—
one shall be a registered medical practitioner;
one shall be a solicitor or barrister; and
one shall be a lay person having first hand experience in caring for a
person with a terminal illness.
If, in relation to documents sent to a monitoring commission in accordance
with section 11(2), two of its members consider that the qualifying conditions
have not been met, the declaration had not been validly made or had been
revoked, or that the requirements of this Act had not been complied with, the
monitoring commission shall refer the matter to the district coroner.
A monitoring commission to which documents have been sent in accordance
with section 11(2) shall confirm to the assisting physician concerned whether
all the requirements of this Act have been complied with as soon as reasonably
possible after the date of receiving such notification of the patient having been
assisted to die or of an attempt so to assist having been made.
The Secretary of State shall publish an annual statistical report of information
collected under this section.
“assisting physician” means the physician who assists the patient to die;
“attending physician” means the physician who has primary
responsibility for the care of the patient and the treatment of the
“consulting physician” means a consultant physician who is qualified by
specialty to make a professional diagnosis and prognosis regarding the
patient’s illness and who is independent of the attending physician;
“declaration” means a witnessed declaration in writing made under
section 4 by the patient;
“health care team” means a person or persons assisting the attending
physician or the consulting physician;
“informed decision” means a decision by a patient to request assistance to
die, which is based on an appreciation of the relevant facts and after
having been fully informed in accordance with section 2 of—
his medical diagnosis;
the process of being assisted to die; and
the alternatives to being assisted to die, including, but not
limited to, palliative care, care in a hospice and the control of
“monitoring commission” means a commission set up by the Secretary of
State to monitor the workings of this Act in a region forming a part of
“nurse” means a nurse practitioner who is registered with the Nursing
“patient” means a person who is under the care of a physician;
“physician” means a medical practitioner who is fully registered with the
“psychiatrist” means a physician who is a specialist in psychiatry;
“psychologist” means a person who is registered with the British
Psychological Society as a chartered clinical psychologist;
“qualifying conditions” means the conditions set out in section 2(2) to (4);
“qualifying patient” means a patient who—
has reached the age of majority, and
after having been registered for primary health care in England
and Wales for a period of at least twelve months has made a
declaration that is for the time being in force;
all the qualifying conditions have been met, and
the requirements of section 5(3) have been complied
“signed” in relation to the signature of a patient on a document means
by the patient writing his own signature, or
where the patient cannot write legibly either through illiteracy
or physical infirmity, by the patient leaving his mark, or
where the patient through physical infirmity cannot either sign
or make his mark, by a third party signing for the patient at his
direction and so indicating on the document after the signature
and adding his own full name and address;
“terminal illness” means an illness which in the opinion of both the
attending and the consulting physician—
is inevitably progressive,
cannot be reversed by treatment (although treatment may be
successful in relieving symptoms temporarily), and
will be likely to result in the patient’s death within six months;
“unbearable suffering” means suffering whether by reason of pain,
distress or otherwise which the patient finds so severe as to be
“witness” means a person who signs a declaration by way of attestation.
Grammatical variations of words and expressions to which definitions are
assigned in this section shall be construed in accordance with the definitions.
Power to make orders and regulations
The Secretary of State may at any time by order make such supplementary,
incidental, consequential or transitional provision as appears to him to be
necessary or expedient for the general or particular purposes of this Act or in
consequence of any of its provisions or for giving full effect to it.
The Secretary of State may make regulations under this Act—
determining classes of persons who may or may not witness a
regulating the custody of records and the collection of information
regarding the operation of this Act;
making provision about appointments to and the operation of the
monitoring commissions; and
providing a code of practice for the guidance of physicians, members of
health care teams and other persons acting in accordance with the
The power to make orders and regulations under this Act is exercisable by
statutory instrument and includes power to make different provision for
A statutory instrument containing regulations made under section 4(1) is
subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of
Parliament and no other statutory instrument may be made under this Act
unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before, and approved by a
resolution of, each House of Parliament.
Amendment of the Suicide Act 1961
Section 2 of the Suicide Act 1961 (c. 60) is amended by inserting after subsection
Subsection (1) does not apply where a person assists another person to
die, or where a person helps another person to assist a third person to
die, or where a person is present when another person ends his own life
or attempts to do so, in accordance with sections 1 and 8 of the Assisted
Dying for the Terminally Ill Act 2005.”
Short title and extent
This Act may be cited as the Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Act 2005.
This Act does not extend to Scotland or Northern Ireland.