Jersey at Risk of ‘Death Tourists’ After Assisted Dying Service Vote

In response to fears about an invasion of “death tourists,” the government of the largest of the Channel Islands, Jersey, has reassured Jersey citizens that assisted dying services would remain exclusive to Jersey residents.

Following a citizens’ jury’s 2021 recommendation that assisted dying be legalized, the Assembly made history in the British Isles by deciding “in principle” to legalize the practice. Proposed official legalization of assisted dying is now up for discussion in the island’s States Assembly, with a vote perhaps postponed until tomorrow.

Three-quarters of the citizen’s jury voted in favor of assisted dying.

Tom Binet, minister of health and social services, defended the contentious plans, saying that islanders’ opinions had driven and informed them. In order to be eligible to use the service, one must have maintained continuous ordinariness of residence in Jersey for a minimum of twelve months before the first official request for assisted dying. According to the official representing the government, there is every sign that the majority of people want this.

If the plans pass, a discussion may take place by the end of 2025, and the process of writing legislation might take around 18 months. If passed, the legislation would likely have a further 18 months to be put into action; thus, the earliest it might take effect is in the summer of 2027.

In February, the Health and Social Care Committee issued a report cautioning the government to consider the consequences of potential legislative changes in some parts of the UK and in the royal dependencies of Jersey and the Isle of Man.

While the Isle of Man’s House of Keys (MHKs) is now in session, it has amended its Assisted Dying Bill to require five years of island residency rather than one, as well as a life expectancy of one year or fewer, from anyone seeking such a death.