Why urgent trial was unreasonable


1. The relief applied for, is not only applicable to the applicant, but would:
– Change the fundamental structure of the law.
– Require the Health Professions to fundamentally change their ethical and disciplinary code.
– Would impact on numerous legal issues including:
– The conscientious objection rights of medical professionals.
– Medical liability
– The role of healthcare professionals
– The legal status of suicide
– The legal status of terminally ill and disabled persons
– The constitutional right to life

2. The cited respondents have not had opportunity to prepare a defence

3. The matter is one of national interest.
3.1 Many organisations have made submissions to the state on this in the past and have not had opportunity to prepare a defence to this case and may join as amicus curiae.
3.2 Doctors for Life have notified the application of their intention to oppose the case.

4. Timeline

4.1 The national debate on assisted suicide and euthanasia has been ongoing since the Law Reform Commission consultation in 1998 and has been shelved a number of times due to strong opposition.

4.2 The applicant (Para 17.1) states that he was provisionally diagnosed with cancer on 19 February 2013.

4.3 The applicant states in his affidavit (paragraph 50-51) that he has been in communication with the public advocacy group Dignity SA on the case since November 2014 and with legal counsel since March 2015.

4.4 Dignity SA announced their intention to take a case to the Constitutional Court on 21 August 2014.

4.5 The case was filed on 22 April 2015, leaving only 3 working days to the court date of 28 April 2015, for the respondents and potential amicus curiae and other respondents to:

– Decide whether to join the case.
– Prepare a defence.
– Study the submitted 93 page affidavit.

4.6 Despite many requests, Dignity SA and their attorneys failed to provide a draft affidavit prior to filing the urgent application that would have allowed respondents and other interested parties to prepare for the case.

It is thus submitted that the urgency of the matter is being created artificially by the applicants attorneys, and that more time needs to be granted for respondents.

Philip Rosenthal