Campaigners challenging the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) over its survey on assisted suicide will have their case heard in the High Court.

Earlier this year the RCP announced it was ending its opposition to assisted suicide to become ‘neutral’ – despite over 40 per cent of doctors voting to remain opposed.

A group of doctors took issue with the decision, and a judge has now ruled the action can be challenged at the High Court.


Dr David Randall said the preliminary ruling “vindicates our decision to challenge this unfair poll”.

He said the survey “served simply to advance the cause of those committed to the legalisation of assisted suicide and euthanasia”.

“We look forward to issuing proceedings shortly in order to see our concerns addressed in court.”


Earlier this year the RCP said it would take a neutral stance unless a supra-majority of 60 per cent backed either support or opposition for assisted suicide.

In the poll, 25 per cent supported a neutral position, 43 per cent said the RCP should be opposed and 32 per cent backed support for assisted suicide.

Judge Lady Cooke, considering the campaigners’ case, said it was “difficult not to see an element of irrationality” in the RCP “adopting a position that was the least favourite of the three options given”.


The row prompted nearly 2,000 medics to sign a petition against the plans, and the Chairman of the RCP’s ethics committee to resign.

Professor Albert Weale complained that the RCP’s decision was “unfair” and “not coherent”.

For more information and to make a donation to support the legal challenge go to

Republished by permission of the Christian Institute.

Image License: sjiong [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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