The House of Lords has established a Select Committee to consider and report on the Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill (HL Bill 17 Session 2003−04). 

This Private Member's Bill, introduced by Lord Joffe, was given its second reading on 10 March 2004. Its main purpose is to enable, in specified circumstances, a terminally ill competent adult to request medical assistance to die.

The terms of reference of the Committee are the Bill itself.  The full text of the Bill is available on the internet at:

When the Select Committee produces its report on the Bill, it will be expected to recommend whether the Bill should proceed and, if so, whether or not in an amended form (The Committee has the power to amend the Bill).

The Committee held its first meeting on 7 July to start planning its work. It is now seeking written evidence and expects to hold oral hearings (open to the public) in September and October. (Details of dates and witnesses to give oral evidence will be announced in further press notices.) The Committee expects to report in late 2004 or early 2005.

The Members of the Committee are:

Earl of Arran

Lord Carlile of Berriew

Baroness Finlay of Llandaff

Baroness Hayman

Baroness Jay of Paddington

Lord Joffe

Lord McColl of Dulwich

Lord Mackay of Clashfern (Chairman)

Lord Patel

Bishop of St Albans

Lord Taverne

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood

Lord Turnberg

Members' declared interests will soon be available on the Committee's web pages, along with other information about the inquiry:

Call for Evidence

A general Call for Evidence is being issued, inviting organisations with a known or presumed interest in the Bill to offer their perspectives.

The Committee anticipates that, in addition to the submission of formal evidence by interested organisations, individuals may wish to indicate their broad support for, or opposition to, the Bill.

Interested individuals are invited to send a short letter or e-mail, giving their name, address, and the key reasons why they support or oppose the Bill to the addresses shown below. Alternatively, instead of setting out their reasons, they may wish simply to associate themselves with the views of one or another organisation.

Contact Details

Individuals wishing to express a view on the Bill should write to:

Select Committee on the Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill [HL]
Committee Office
House of Lords

Or email to:

by no later than Friday 3 September 2004

Letters and emails will not be acknowledged, but all submissions, whether full written evidence or short letters or e-mails, will be taken into account by the Committee.


The Bill is a modified version of one which was introduced into the House of Lords in Session 2002−03, which had its second reading on 6 June 2003 but which did not pass into law.

For further information please contact:

Robert Preston, Clerk to the Committee, on 020 7219 4568.