The Government of Jersey commissioned Involve to run a Citizens’ Jury on assisted dying. As defined for this process, assisted dying is where a person suffering from a terminal illness or incurable condition is helped to take their own life. They are usually assisted by a doctor who either provides, or administers, lethal drugs.
In 2018, an e-petition was launched calling for the Jersey States Assembly to amend the legislation around assisted dying. This was signed by 1,861 people and was followed in 2019 by an online public survey, a doctors’ survey and a public meeting all of which suggested that there is a growing interest in and support for assisted dying within the Jersey community. For these reasons, the Jersey Minister for Health and Social Services has committed to establishing a Citizens’ Jury to consider whether assisted dying should be permitted in Jersey.
How did the Jury work?
The Jersey Assisted Dying Citizens’ Jury was held virtually between March and May 2021. The 18 to 24 jurors were selected randomly and were demographically representative of the population. The question that the Jury explored was:
“Should assisted dying be permitted in Jersey and if so, under what circumstances?”
An independent advisory panel oversaw and scrutinised the delivery of this project. Michael de La Haye, a member of the independent advisory panel explained:
We will work with independent organisations [Involve & Sortition Foundation] , who are leaders in participatory democracy, to ensure that the make-up of the Jury represents our Island, and that the evidence presented to Jury members is balanced, accurate and comprehensive.
What impact did the Jury have?
The jurors had the opportunity to listen to evidence and discuss issues together to develop a set of recommendations for consideration of the States Assembly before the end of 2021.
Deputy Richard Renouf, Jersey Minister for Health and Social Services:
[..] Each and every member of the Jury will have a pivotal role in helping ensure that the States Assembly, and other key stakeholders, benefit from an in-depth understanding of our community’s response to assisted dying ahead of a debate later this year.
Jury Recommendations - Initial Report
The Initial Report of the Jury's recommendations was published on 22nd June 2021. You can find this Initial Report attached below or via this link.