New Zealand Law Society - Late lawyer New Zealander of 2015

Late lawyer New Zealander of 2015

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Late Wellington lawyer Lecretia Seales is the New Zealand Herald's New Zealander of the Year for 2015.

The heading of the Herald article announcing the award reads: "Courageous woman who sparked euthanasia debate New Zealander of the Year".

Lecretia Seales
Lecretia Seales

Ms Seales took a case to the High Court of New Zealand in May last year in an attempt to clarify the existing law on assisted dying, and to seek a ruling that her doctor would not be prosecuted if they assisted her to die. (Seales v Attorney-General [2015] NZHC 1239).

Ms Seales did not get the ruling she sought, and she passed away on 5 June, just hours before the ruling was shared with the public.

Her decision, however, to mount this legal challenge in the very final stages of her life garnered huge public support and prompted the New Zealand Parliament to look at the issue of assisted dying for the first time in 12 years.

The Health Select Committee is currently investigating attitudes towards assisted dying in New Zealand and is continuing to take submissions from the public until 1 February.

Ms Seales' widower, Matt Vickers, continues to promote changes in the law that would allow the option of assisted dying.

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