The Nuffield Council on Bioethics (NCOB) is working with Hopkins Van Mil, an award-winning social research agency in deliberative methods, to design and facilitate England’s first-ever Citizens’ Jury to explore public views on assisted dying.

Invitation letters have been sent to a random sample of 7,000 households across England inviting anyone aged 18 or over who is living in that household to register their interest in participating in a Citizens’ Jury to address the following questions:

1. Should the law in England be changed to permit assisted dying?

  • What are the most important reasons in favour of permitting assisted dying?
  • What are the most important reasons against permitting assisted dying?

2. If the law is changed to permit assisted dying in England, what should it include? What should it exclude?

3. If the law is not changed to permit assisted dying in England, are there any recommendations or changes to assisted dying policy that should be made?

From those who register their interest, a lottery will select 30 people who broadly represent the demographics of the English population to participate in the Jury.

Molly Gray, Project Manager for the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, said:

There is a clear evidence gap about the public views on assisted dying in England. I hope those who receive a letter will take the opportunity to register their interest to take part in the Citizens’ Jury. The process will be a unique opportunity to engage with a sensitive and complex topic and contribute to the national conversation."

The recruitment process is being run by the Sortition Foundation, an independent not-for-profit organisation that promotes the use of stratified random selection in decision-making. Jury members will participate in online and in-person sessions between April and June 2024. They will receive £440 in recognition of their commitment and a thank you for taking part.

An independent Advisory Board has been set up to oversee the project planning and process to help ensure the project is robust, rigorous, and maintains integrity. A Content Group has also been established to help ensure the evidence, content, and stimulus materials presented to the Jury are overall balanced, accurate, and accessible.

Top recommendations from the Jury will be published in an initial report in early summer with a detailed report being published at the end of the project.

Henrietta Hopkins Director of Hopkins Van Mil said:

It is always an exciting moment when invitations to express an interest in taking part in a Jury are sent to so many homes across England. The sortition process gives a fair chance for people across society to take part in this important conversation. We look forward to welcoming Jury members into the deliberative space in the coming months.”