On the day when the Law Lords bade farewell to the House of Lords and sit as Justices of the Supreme Court of the United kingdom at the new Supreme Court in October, they gave judgment on one of the emotive issues of our times in R (on the application of Purdy) v Director of Public Prosecutions 
The Times reports: “Five Law Lords unanimously backed the woman’s call for a policy statement from the Director of Public Prosecutions on the circumstances in which a person such as her husband might face prosecution for helping a loved one end their life abroad.”
“The Law Lords agreed that changes were a matter for Parliament, but upheld Ms Purdy’s argument that the DPP, Keir Starmer QC, should put in writing the factors that he regarded as relevant in deciding whether or not to prosecute. After the verdict, Mr Starmer issued a statement accepting the decision and saying that an interim policy would be produced by the end of September. He added that his final version should be published by spring 2010.”
I spoke earlier in the week to Lord Falconer on his amendment to the law on assisted suicide. We now have a clear statement from the Law Lords that the DPP is under a duty to put in writing the factors he regards as relevant in deciding whether or not to prosecute and, thereby, clarifying the position for those, Like Ms Purdy who wish to end their lives knowing that their loved ones will not be prosecuted if they assist.
A step in the right direction but by no means a change in the fundamental law – a challenge for a future parliament. The next stage must, inevitably, be pressure on Parliament to change the law to permit assisted dying in this country.