Paralysed Paul Lamb applies to High Court to change assisted dying law

A former builder from Leeds who was paralysed in a car crash almost 30 years ago has applied to the High Court for permission to judicially review the UK’s law on assisted dying.

Paul Lamb, 63, of west Leeds,is fighting for the right to die a dignified death in his own home if the constant pain he suffers becomes unbearable.

Mr Lamb, who lost a right-to-die bid in the Supreme Court in 2014, has now applied to the High Court in the next stage of his bid to challenge the law.

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He was severely injured in a car accident in 1990 and has no function below his neck apart from limited movement in his right arm.

Paul Lamb.Paul Lamb.
Paul Lamb.

Leeds road accident victim Paul Lamb's new right to die challengeMr Lamb, who needs 24-hour care, wants to be able to end his life at a time and in the manner of his choosing.

He argues that the current law - which bans any assistance under threat of up to fourteen years’ imprisonment - breaches his human rights.

In his application to the High Court, Mr Lamb argues that he has an irreversible disability which causes him intolerable pain and suffering, as a result of which he wishes to be able to take his own life at a time of his choosing.

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Mr Lamb said: "I have been fighting this fundamental basic human right of choice over one’s own life since 2013.

"I need to have peace of mind that I can make the decision to end my life with dignity.

"I am talking about my life, my decision, why should I be made to suffer? I feel so strongly about this. I have no option but to seek the court’s intervention again. I want to fight this, not just for me but for the many others in my position. We need to end this cruel and discriminatory law."

Rosa Curling, solicitor at law firm Leigh Day which is representing Mr Lamb, said: ‘We look forward to presenting Paul’s case in the High Court.

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"Paul has waited patiently for many years for Parliament to properly debate the issue of assisted dying but he lives in constant pain and can wait no longer.

Speaking from the bedroom of his home in west Leeds in May this year, Mr Lamb told the YEP the nerve pain he suffers is constant and “horrendous.”

Mr Lamb said: “It feels like everything on my body is swollen. It never gets better."

However, Dr Gordon Macdonald, chief executive of Care Not Killing, said in May that the current law is the "safest law".

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He said: "We are disappointed that yet another unnecessary legal challenge is being brought.

"There have been numerous attempts to legalise assisted suicide and euthanasia through the courts, all of which have failed, because the judges recognise the limitation of Article 8 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

"They also said this is a matter for parliamentarians, who have looked at the legislation in detail and rejected weakening our current laws."