Suicide legislation

Suicide is a crime in some parts of the world. However, while suicide has been decriminalized in the western countries, the act is still stigmatized and discouraged. In other contexts, suicide could be utilized as an extreme expression of liberty, as is exemplified by its usage as an expression of devout dissent towards perceived tyranny or injustice which occurred in cultures like ancient Rome or medieval Japan. While a person who has died by suicide is beyond the reach of the law, there can still be legal consequences in the cases of treatment of the corpse or the fate of the person's property or family members; the associated matters of assisting a suicide and attempting suicide have been dealt with by the laws of some jurisdictions. Some countries criminalise suicide attempts. Laws against suicide and mercy killing have developed from religious doctrine, for example, the claim that only God has the right to determine when a person will die. In ancient Athens, a person who had died by suicide was denied the honours of a normal burial.

The person would be buried alone, without a headstone or marker. A criminal ordinance issued by Louis XIV in 1670 was far more severe in its punishment: the dead person's body was drawn through the streets, face down, hung or thrown on a garbage heap. Additionally, all of the person's property was confiscated. The'Burial of Suicide Act' of 1823 abolished the legal requirement in England of burying suicides at crossroads. In modern times, legal penalties for the act of suicide have not been uncommon. By 1879, English law had begun to distinguish between suicide and homicide, though suicide still resulted in forfeiture of estate; the deceased were permitted daylight burial in 1882. In many jurisdictions it is a crime to assist others, directly or indirectly, in taking their own lives. In some jurisdictions, it is illegal to encourage them to do so. Sometimes an exception applies for physician assisted suicide, under strict conditions. In the Australian state of Victoria, while suicide itself is no longer a crime, a survivor of a suicide pact can be charged with manslaughter.

It is a crime to counsel, incite, or aid and abet another in attempting to suicide, the law explicitly allows any person to use "such force as may reasonably be necessary" to prevent another from dying by suicide. On 29 November 2017 the state of Victoria passed the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act, making it legal for a doctor to assist a terminally ill patient with less than six months to live to end their own life; the law came into effect on 19 June 2019. The common law crimes of attempting suicide and of assisting suicide were codified in Canada when Parliament enacted the Criminal Code in 1892, it carried a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment. Eighty years in 1972, Parliament repealed the offence of attempting suicide from the Criminal Code based on the argument that a legal deterrent was unnecessary; the prohibition on assisting suicide remained, as s 241 of the Criminal Code: Counselling or aiding suicide 241. Every one who counsels a person to commit suicide, or aids or abets a person to commit suicide,whether suicide ensues or not, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.

However, the law against assisted suicide, including physician-assisted suicide, was the subject of much debate including two reports of the Law Reform Commission of Canada in 1982 and 1983, though these did not support changing the law. In 1993, the offence of assisted suicide survived a constitutional challenge in the Supreme Court of Canada, in the case of Rodriguez v. British Columbia; the plaintiff, Sue Rodriguez, had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in early 1991. She wished to be able to commit suicide at a time of her own choosing, but would require assistance to do so, because her physical condition prevented her from doing so without assistance. By a 5-4 majority, the Court held that the prohibition on assisted suicide did not infringe s 7 of the Canadian Charter of RIghts and Freedoms, which provides constitutional protection for liberty and security of the person; the majority held that while the law did affect those rights, it did so in a manner consistent with the principles of fundamental justice.

The majority held that the prohibition on assisted suicide did not infringe the Charter's prohibition against cruel and unusual treatment or punishment. Assuming the prohibition did discriminate on basis of disability, the majority held that the infringement was a justifiable restriction. In 1995 the Senate issued a report on assisted suicide entitled Of Death. In 2011 the Royal Society of Canada published its report on end-of-life decision-making. In the report it recommended that the Criminal Code be modified so as to permit assistance in dying under some circumstances. In 2012 a Select Committee on Dying with Dignity of the Quebec National Assembly produced a report recommending amendments to legislation to recognize medical aid in dying as being an appropriate component of end-of-life care; that report resulted in An Act respecting end-of-life care, set to come into force on December 10, 2015. On June 15, 2012, in Carter v Canada, the British Columbia Supreme Court ruled that the criminal offence prohibiting physician assistance of suicide was unconstitutional on the grounds that denying people access to assisted suicide in hard cases was contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantee of equality under Section 15.

This decision was subsequently overturned by the majority of the British Columbia Court of Appeal on the basis that the issue had been decided by the Supreme Court of Canada in the R


Neo-Victorianism is an aesthetic movement which amalgamates Victorian and Edwardian aesthetic sensibilities with modern principles and technologies. Many magazines and websites are devoted to Neo-Victorian ideas in dress, family life, interior decoration and other topics. Many neo-Victorian novels have reinterpreted and rewritten Victorian culture. Significant texts include The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Possession and George, Dorian, An Imitation Jack Maggs, Wide Sargasso Sea. Recent neo-Victorian novels have been adapted to the screen, from The French Lieutenant’s Woman to the television adaptations of Sarah Waters and Michel Faber; these narratives may indicate a'sexsation' of neo-Victorianism and have been called'in-yer-face' neo-Victorianism. Recent productions of neo-Victorianism on screen include Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes films, the BBC’s Sherlock, Ripper Street, ITV’s Whitechapel, CBC's Murdoch Mysteries or the Showtime series Penny Dreadful; the neo-Victorian formula can be expanded to include Mr Selfridge.

In September 2007, Exeter University explored the phenomenon in a major international conference titled Neo-Victorianism: The Politics and Aesthetics of Appropriation. Academic studies include Neo-Victorianism: The Victorians in the Twenty-First Century, 1999–2009. Other foundational texts of neo-Victorian criticism are Kucich and Sadoff, Kohlke and Young, Davies, Kleinecke-Bates, Böhm-Schnitker and Gruss and others. Examples of crafts made in this style would include push-button cordless telephones made to look like antique wall-mounted phones, CD players resembling old time radios, Victorianesque furniture, Victorian era-style clothing. In neo-romantic and fantasy art one can see the elements of Victorian aesthetic values. There is a emerging genre of steampunk art. McDermott & McGough are a couple of contemporary artists whose work is all about a recreation of life in the nineteenth century: they only use the ultimate technology available, since they are supposed to live anachronistically, this means the use of earlier photographic processes, maintaining the illusion of a life stuck in the ways of a forgotten era.

Many who have adopted Neo-Victorian style have adopted Victorian behavioural affectations, seeking to imitate standards of Victorian conduct, interpersonal interaction. Some go so far as to embrace certain Victorian habits such as shaving with straight razors, riding penny farthings, exchanging calling cards, using fountain pens to write letters in florid prose sealed by wax. Gothic fashion sometimes incorporates Neo-Victorian style. Neo-Victorianism is embraced in, but quite distinguished from, the Lolita and Madam fashions popular in Japan, which are becoming more noticeable in Europe. Neo-Victorian aesthetics are popular in the United States and United Kingdom among cultural conservatives and social conservatives. Books such as The Benevolence of Manners: Recapturing the Lost Art of Gracious Victorian Living call for a return to Victorian morality; the term Neo-Victorian is commonly used in a derogatory way towards social conservatives. The cultural social attitudes and conventions that many associate with the Victorian era are inaccurate.

In fact, many of the things that seem commonplace in modern life began in the Victorian era, such as sponsorship, sensational journalism and popular merchandise. Neo-Victorianism can be seen in the growing steampunk genre of speculative fiction and in music performers such as Emilie Autumn. Neo-Victorianism is popular with, in many ways prefigured by, those who are interested in Victoriana and historical reenactment. Neo-Victorian details appear in The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson, in which Neo-Victorians are one of the main groups of protagonists. Carnival Diablo is a Neo-Victorian circus sideshow, touring North America for 20 years. Unhallowed Metropolis is a roleplaying game based in a Neo-Victorian setting. Victorian architecture Victorian house Victorian morality Victoriana Chrisman, Sarah Waisted Curves: My Transformation Into A Victorian Lady 2010. Aegis & Owl Press Neo-Victorian Studies Primorac, Antonija. Neo-Victorianism on Screen. Postfeminism and Contemporary Adaptations of Victorian Women.

Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017. Heilmann, Ann. Neo-Victorianism: the Victorians in the twenty-first century, 1999-2009. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. Special issue on neo-Victorianism. LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory. 20