Diane Pretty had Motor Neurone Disease (MND). She wanted to control the time and manner of her death. Because of her condition, she needed help from her husband to die. She asked the government to guarantee that her husband would not be prosecuted if he helped her die.
The House of Lords rejected Diane’s case. They said that the right to life did not include a right to die. They also said that the right to private life did not include a right to decide when and how to die.
Diane took her case to the European Court of Human Rights. She argued that the right to life included a right to choose whether to carry on living. The court disagreed. They said that right to life was not determined by quality of life so could not be interpreted as also giving a right to die.
Unlike the House of Lords, they did say that Diane’s right to choose how to end her life came within her right to respect for private life. But, they said that the ban on assisted suicide in the UK could be justified to protect vulnerable people.