No Judge For Euthanasia

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The government does not favor the idea to let a judge decide about the validity of a living will. This is evident from Minister Edith Schipper’s answers to questions by the Labour Party.

The reason for the questions was a plea of former judge Jan Peeters to let judges decide on the validity of the euthanasia of a demented patient. Minister Schippers believes that this is not meaningful and not desirable.

A prior judicial review does not fit within the Euthanasia Law and a living will is valid if it  includes a date and a sign of the (mentally competent) person. This doesn’t require a prior judicial review, said Schippers.

A living will also doesn’t need to be notarized. That would wrongly give the impression that the performance of euthanasia is guaranteed, while that is not the case. "Euthanasia is not a right, and the doctor has no duty to implement the euthanasia," writes the minister.

It states that it is important that patient and doctor regularly talk about the text of the living will and update it as necessary. Eventually a doctor is the best person to assess the current situation of a patient with respect to the situation that the patient has described as unbearable and hopeless in the living will.