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New Zealand: Medicinal Cannabis Bill Passed

(Dec. 18, 2018) On December 11, 2018, the New Zealand Parliament passed the Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Bill (New Zealand Legislation website), which “will introduce an exception and a statutory defence for terminally ill people to possess and use illicit cannabis and to possess a cannabis utensil; provide a regulation-making power to enable the […]

Belgium: Report Reveals Euthanasia Commission Authorized Euthanasia of Three Minors in 2016–17

(Oct. 29, 2018) Belgium has the world’s only law allowing terminally ill minors in “unbearable suffering” to choose to die. (Henry Samuel, Belgium Authorized Euthanasia of a Terminally Ill Nine and 11-Year-Old in Youngest Cases Worldwide, TELEGRAPH (Aug. 7, 2018).) According to a report published on July 17, 2018, by the Commission fédérale de Contrôle […]

United Kingdom: Supreme Court Rules on Widowed Parent’s Allowance for the Surviving Unmarried Partner

(Sept. 18, 2018) On August 30, 2018, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom issued a ruling stating that “section 39A of the Social Security Contributions and Benefits (Northern Ireland) Act 1992 [the Act] is incompatible with article 14 of the ECHR [European Convention on Human Rights], read with article 8, insofar as it precludes […]

Japan: Civil Code Amended to Enable Elderly Widows and Widowers to Continue Living in Deceased Spouse’s Residence

(Sept. 6, 2018) The inheritance chapter of Japan’s Civil Code was amended in July 2018. (Act to Amend Civil Code and Domestic Relations Case Procedure Act, Act No. 72 of 2018, KANPOU [OFFICIAL GAZETTE] Extra Ed., No. 154, at 4 (July 13, 2018), National Printing Bureau website (in Japanese).) The amendment will become effective by July […]

Australia: Victorian State Parliament Passes Bill to Legalize Voluntary Euthanasia

(Nov. 30, 2017) On November 29, 2017, the Parliament of Victoria passed the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2017 (Vic), under which terminally ill people will be able to request assistance to end their lives through the use of a lethal medication.  Once it receives royal assent, the bill will come into force in June 2019, […]

South Korea: Pilot Program Started for the Well-Dying Law

(Nov. 8, 2017) On October 23, 2017, a pilot program for the Hospice, Palliative Care, and Life-Sustaining Treatment Decision-Making Act, known as the “Well-Dying Law,” was implemented. (Act No. 14013 (Feb. 3, 2016), Korea Ministry of Government Legislation website (in Korean).)  The pilot program ends on January 15, 2018, and the Law will go into […]

Germany: Purchase of Lethal Dose of Narcotics for Painless Suicide Not Deniable in “Extremely Exceptional Situations”

(May 24, 2017) On March 2, 2017, Germany’s Federal Administrative Court (Bundesverwaltungsgericht (BVerwG)) held that the constitutionally guaranteed general right to protection of personality includes the right of seriously and terminally ill patients to decide how and when to end their lives, provided that the patients are able to form the decision of their own […]

Australia: Bill to Establish State Relationship Register for Same-Sex Couples Introduced

(Oct. 7, 2016) On September 22, 2016, the South Australian government introduced into the State Parliament a bill that will enable unmarried couples, both same-sex and heterosexual, to register their relationships with the government.  The Relationships Register Bill 2016 (SA) provides for such couples to receive a certificate of registration and have their relationships legally […]

Japan: Act to Promote the Collection of War Dead Remains Passed

(June 13, 2016) The Act on Promotion of Collection of Remains of War Dead was promulgated in Japan on March 30, 2016, and became effective on April 1, 2016.  (Act No. 12 of 2016, Official Gazette website (in Japanese).) The new Act states that collection of the war dead’s remains is the state’s obligation, and […]