BY WILLIAM KEENAN
English law is morally and intellectually incoherent and is now left laughing at itself, one of the world’s leading authorities on law and ethics, Prof John Keown, said at a lecture.
Professor Keown, who is Rose F Kennedy Professor of Christian Ethics at Georgetown University, Washington DC and former Cambridge senior lecturer in law and ethics, was speaking to an invited audience including barristers, judges and leading doctors at Chester.
He said that arguably one of the most important cases ever decided in English legal history and which rightly attracted so much media attention was the Tony Bland case.
Bland, a victim of the Hillsborough football disaster, had been in a “persistent vegetative state” in Airedale Hospital, Yorkshire, after being crushed. The Hospital Trust won a declaration that it would be lawful to stop feeding him.
Prof Keown said: “The Bland case has rendered the law morally and intellectually mishapen. And it could be reasonably argued that at the present time judges, as one of the conservative arms of the state, are playing a role no less significant than the law-makers in subverting that ethic by converting the right not to be killed into a duty to kill and a right to self-determination into a right to self-termination.”