Library of Congress

Law Library of Congress

The Library of Congress > Law Library > News & Events > Global Legal Monitor

Germany: Constitutional Court Strikes Down Provision Criminalizing Commercial Assisted Suicide

(Apr. 29, 2020) On February 26, 2020, the German Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht, BVerfG) held that the provision in the German Criminal Code criminalizing commercial assisted suicide is unconstitutional. The Court stated that the general right of personality encompasses a right to a self-determined death, which includes the freedom to take one’s own life as […]

Italy: Criminal Code Provision Outlawing Assisted Suicide Ruled Unconstitutional

(Jan. 7, 2020) On November 22, 2019, the Italian Constitutional Court declared that application of article 580 of the Penal Code penalizing assisted suicide is unconstitutional in certain circumstances. (Decision No. 242 of November 22, 2019 (the Decision) (in Italian).) Background of the Case The case was referred to the Constitutional Court by the Court of […]

Australia: Western Australia Legalizes Voluntary Assisted Dying

(Dec. 20, 2019) On December 10, 2019, the Parliament of Western Australia passed the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2019 (WA), when the Legislative Assembly (lower house) voted in favor of amendments that had been passed in the Legislative Council (upper house) the previous week. Western Australia will therefore be the second Australian state to legalize […]

New Zealand: Referendums on Assisted Dying and Cannabis Legalization to be Held in 2020

(Dec. 17, 2019) On December 3, 2019, the New Zealand government launched a new website to provide information on two referendums that will be held in conjunction with the 2020 general election. This followed a vote in Parliament in November 2019 to pass the End of Life Choice Bill (now the End of Life Choice […]

United Kingdom: Scottish Parliament Approves Opt-Out Organ Donation System

(July 23, 2019) Members of the Scottish Parliament have passed the Human Tissue (Authorisation) (Scotland) Bill (the Bill), introducing an opt-out system of organ donation. (SP Bill 32A Human Tissue (Authorisation) (Scotland) Bill [as passed], Session 5 2019), Parliament website.) The members voted overwhelmingly for the measure on June 11, 2019, with 116 voting for […]

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 […]