In English law, being allowed to do something is not always equivalent to having a right to do it. This is more than a statement of a dichotomy between positive and negative rights, and is useful in a limiting and thus important sense.1 A stark example is the insistence by the courts that there is no right to die.2 With the failure of Parliament so far to adopt any legislation permitting active euthanasia or assisted suicide for terminally ill patients,3 concerned parties have resorted to making arguments under the existing law to claim a right to help with the hastening of death. Understandably, the courts have been reluctant to grasp so crucially divisive an issue, arguing that it is for Parliament to enshrine such a change in law.4 Although it was not his obvious intention, judicial dicta by Munby J. in the case of Mr Burke...

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