The legal situation regarding euthanasia and assisted suicide is usually characterised by a complex interaction of legal provisions in all major areas of law, the relevant case-law and “soft factors” such as the prosecution practice of law enforcement authorities. Despite the difficulties this creates for a comparative analysis, the article attempts to sketch the legal situation in Germany and the Netherlands, thereby laying the foundation for a legal comparison. To this end, it not only reflects on the legal framework but also addresses recent developments in the relevant legislation and case-law: For example, in the Netherlands, where euthanasia and assisted suicide are subject to extensive regulation and a transparent procedure, there has recently been discussion about cases where the patient has come to the conclusion that he or she has “completed” his or her life. The findings of a working group that has been established to legally assess this phenomenon are summarized and discussed. In Germany, a new provision has been implemented into the Penal Code, criminalising assisted suicide “on a business-like basis” (“geschäftsmäßig”). Contrary to appeasing statements by the legislator, this provision establishes a risk of prosecution for physicians (especially in the field of palliative medicine). Against the background of these and other recent developments, the article determines the opportunities to benefit from a comparative analysis in the area of euthanasia and assisted suicide.
Erasmus School of Law

Mevis, P., & Lindemann, M. (2016). Recent developments in the Legislation and Case-Law on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide - A Comparative Analysis of the SItuation in Germany and the Netherlands. In Jahrbuch für Recht und Ethik (Annual Review of Law and Ethics), Band 24. Retrieved from