Restorative Justice, Euthanasia, and Assisted Suicide: A New Arena for Restorative Justice and a New Path for End of Life Law and Policy in Canada

  • Jennifer J Llewellyn Director, Nova Scotia Restorative Justice Community University Research Alliance (NSRJ-CURA); Associate Professor, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University.
  • Jocelyn Downie Canada Research Chair in Health and Policy; Professor, Schulich School of Law and Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University.

Abstract

This articles examines the current Canadian legal approach to euthanasia and assisted suicide, highlights some of the problems with it, and offers a novel alternative to the current traditionally criminalized prohibitive regime.  The authors first describe a restorative justice approach and explain the differences between such an approach and the traditional approach currently in use.  They then explain how a restorative justice approach could be implemented in the arena of assisted death, acknowledging the potential challenges in implementation.  The authors conclude that taking a restorative justice approach to euthanasia and assisted suicide could enable movement in the seeminly intractable public policy debates about these issues, lead to more effective and compassionate responses to cases of euthanasia and assisted suicide, and prompt policy and practice reform that enables society to better care for individuals at the end of life.

Author Biographies

Jennifer J Llewellyn, Director, Nova Scotia Restorative Justice Community University Research Alliance (NSRJ-CURA); Associate Professor, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University.
She has written and published extensively on the theory and practice of restorative justice domestically and in transitional contexts.  She had worked with the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, advised the Assembly of First Nations during the settlement process related to Indian residential schools abuse, and served as a senior consultant for the United Nations Development Program in the drafting and developement of a National Restorative Justice policy for Jamaica.
Jocelyn Downie, Canada Research Chair in Health and Policy; Professor, Schulich School of Law and Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University.
She is an elected fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences as well as the Royal Society of Canada.  She has been engaged in research and advocacy around end of life law and policy for many years.  Her book, Dying Justice: A Case for Decriminalizing Euthanasia & Assisted Suicide in Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004) was awarded the Abbyann D Lynch Medal in Bioethics by the Royal Society of Canada.
How to Cite
Llewellyn, J. J., & Downie, J. (1). Restorative Justice, Euthanasia, and Assisted Suicide: A New Arena for Restorative Justice and a New Path for End of Life Law and Policy in Canada. Alberta Law Review, 48(4), 965. https://doi.org/10.29173/alr142
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Articles