Tuesday 12 December 2017

James McDermott: Court decided in end that hard cases make bad law

IRONICALLY, in a week when the Oireachtas is deliberating on the legal implications of when life begins the courts delivered their ruling on what the law says about when and how life ends.

If anyone had any lingering doubts about the significance of yesterday's decision then these were assuaged in the very first paragraph of the judgment delivered by the President of the High Court. He observed that over those 75 years "few cases have emerged which are more tragic".

Indeed, it is difficult to think of a plaintiff more deserving of sympathy that Marie Fleming, a 59-year-old woman in the final stages of multiple sclerosis, whose courage both "humbled and inspired" the three judges.

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