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Durham University

Durham Law School

Staff profile

Publication details for Dr Samantha Halliday

Halliday, Samantha & Witteck, Lars (2003). Decision - Making At The End Of Life and The Incompetent Patient: A Comparative Approach. Medicine and Law 22: 533-542.
  • Publication type: Journal Article
  • ISSN/ISBN: 0723-1393

Author(s) from Durham


This article adopts a comparative approach to assessing the manner in which decisions to withdraw/withhold life-prolonging treatment are made in relation to previously competent patients without a legally effective advance directive or a proxy decision-maker, considering the approaches adopted by the courts in England & Wales and Germany: the best interests and ‘presumed will’ approaches respectively. Due to the inherent drawbacks associated with each approach it is concluded that the best way forward would be for both jurisdictions to adopt a mixed approach, allowing the autonomy model to temper the best interests approach, recognising that the patient is an individual rather than simply an object of concern. A précis of this article was published in the French journal Risques & Qualité en Milieu de Soins in its section ‘Dans la presse internationale,’ December 2004.