A Citizens' Jury formed to decide if Jersey should allow Assisted Dying will meet for the first time next week.
23 people have been chosen from 477 who applied.
The government says jury members have been 'randomly selected to provide a broadly representative sample of the Island'.
They will be supported by expert advisors Professor Suzanne Ost from Lancaster University and Dr Alexandra Mullock of the University of Manchester.
The jury will meet online ten times over two months to hear evidence, consider and debate the legal, ethical and medical implication of allowing islanders to help their loved ones to die.
The first meeting will take place on 18 March.
The jury will make its recommendation to the States Assembly in June, with a final report due in the autumn, and politicians will ultimately decide if the law should be changed.
The government says a 'content oversight team' is supporting the design of the sessions and the selection of speakers, to ensure that the evidence presented to the Jury is balanced, adding that 'they have been selected for their academic expertise and their range of views on the subject'.
The team includes Professor Richard Huxtable (University of Bristol), Professor Emily Jackson (London School of Economics) and Professor David Jones (St Mary’s University and Director of Anscombe Bioethics Centre, Oxford).
Jury members are being offered practical and well-being support in advance and throughout the process.
Involve, a UK-based participation charity, will provide members with support to take part in the online sessions, while Mind Jersey will provide in-session support to Jury members, and wellbeing information will be available between sessions.
“Mind Jersey are working in partnership with the independent facilitators of the Citizens’ Jury to support and protect the mental health and wellbeing of all the Jury members, who are involved in one of the most complex ethical decisions of our time.” - Patricia Tumelty, Executive Director of Mind Jersey.
Michael De La Haye, a member of the Independent Advisory Panel (which was established by the Minister for Health and Social Services, Deputy Richard Renouf, to provide independent oversight of the whole process) said: “As panel members, we are committed to overseeing the integrity of the process and are pleased to see the opening session of the Jersey Assisted Dying Citizens’ Jury begin next week.
“It is vital that the Citizens’ Jury hears the full range of views on this subject, and that they are able to discuss their views independently, in-depth and with the correct support in place. The appointment of expert advisors, who will attend each session, plus the independent content oversight team, are significant steps in ensuring the absolute integrity of the processes.
“Myself and the other members of the Independent Advisory Panel will also be attending each session as official observers. We will not be participating: we will be watching and listening, in order to provide assurance to all stakeholders, regardless of their views, that the process is robust and balanced.”
Selecting the jury:
The jury selection process was overseen by the Sortition Foundation, an independent organisation which provides independent selection services for citizen’s assemblies and juries.
In January it sent invitations to a random sample of 4,600 households, asking people aged over 16 to register their interest.
Jury remembers will remain anonymous unless they choose to share their involvement publicly.
Recorded presentations, presented to the Jury members at the sessions will be released regularly on gov.je throughout the process.
Professor Richard Huxtable is Professor of Medical Ethics and Law at The University of Bristol. His research focuses on legal and ethical issues in end-of-life decision making.
Professor Emily Jackson is a Professor of Medical Law at the London School of Economics. Her research focuses on medical ethics.
Professor David Jones is Director of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre, Oxford. He is also a Research Fellow at Blackfriars Hall, Oxford University and Professor of Bioethics at St Mary's University, Twickenham. His research interest is focused on the practice of assisted dying in countries around the world.
Professor Suzanne Ost is a Professor of Law in the Law School at Lancaster University. Her research focuses on healthcare law and bioethics.
Dr Alexandra Mullock is a Senior Lecturer in Medical Law at the University of Manchester. Her research focuses on the regulation of health care professionals through medical law.