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Effective end-of-life care planning in Scotland: culture and law.

Christie, Sarah



In the context of an ageing population, end-of-life care planning is increasingly important. The law in Scotland does not, as yet, take the active and specific steps to help address this that are evident in other jurisdictions. I contend that there are two particular issues which need to be addressed here: normalising the idea of a discussion about dying, such that individuals feel entitled to discuss and plan for it by way of an advance directive, feel that it is a valuable exercise, and feel reassured that their plans will not falter if they lose capacity; and formulating an approach which prompts and encourages that discussion, but also promotes autonomous decision-making. I assert that the law can, and should help with this by providing a legislative basis for advance directives in order to set out the requirements for formal validity, and by making provision for an allied, non-mandatory pro-forma to guide and assist those who wish to use it.


CHRISTIE, S. 2017. Effective end-of-life care planning in Scotland: culture and law. Journal of medical law and ethics (online), 5(1), pages 1-16. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 16, 2016
Online Publication Date Mar 1, 2017
Publication Date Mar 31, 2017
Deposit Date Nov 23, 2016
Publicly Available Date Mar 2, 2018
Journal Journal of medical law and ethics
Print ISSN 2213-5405
Electronic ISSN 2214-5354
Publisher Paris Legal Publishers
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 5
Issue 1
Pages 1-16
Keywords Advance directives; End of life care; Advance care planning
Public URL