The book discusses in a comparative way legal approaches to euthanasia.
Although it primarily uses the constitutional law method to analyze the
controversy, it also considers the moral and penal law aspects of the problem.
It covers around 15 jurisdictions (including the developments on European
level) and refers to the both common forms of euthanasia (passive and
active). The analysis is principally concerned with the legal construction
of permissible euthanasia - that is with the values and ideas in terms of
which law reform may be framed. The book endeavors to advance the
common understanding of the link between passive and active euthanasia.
It also illuminates the view that what the law has condoned under the
various types of passive euthanasia already broke some ground regarding
the legalization of its active form.
Assessing that the present legal asymmetry is indefensible, the book also
confronts the issues of a right strategy to legalize active euthanasia and a
right authority to do the job. It demonstrates that constitutional arguments
failed to convince courts to mandate the legalization. On the other hand,
by using the Dutch example, it shows that criminal jurisprudence might
result in a democratically enhanced entitlement to physician assistance in
The final analysis has triggered the issue of who should decide on whether
active euthanasia is to be legalized: should the courts be catalysts or citizens
themselves or is it entirely up to democratically elected representatives to
decide if there is any reason for legalization? The author argues in favor
of the last option because only a legislative reform achieved through a
deliberative democracy may bring some peace to the issue involving a strong
but reasonable disagreement.