The website of The Rt Revd Dr Christopher Herbert

Three Abbeys


The Ethics of Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide.

Christopher Herbert has been deeply involved in the consideration given to the ethical issues raised by Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide over the past few years. He was a member of the group of international Anglican bishops at the Lambeth Conference of 1998 who brought a refreshing world-wide ethical and theological approach to the subject. Their report can be found in The Official Report of the Lambeth Conference 1998 (Morehouse Publishing 1998).

In the House of Lords he spoke on the subject in a number of major debates, and had the privilege of being a member of the House of Lords Select Committee charged with considering the subject in 2004-2005. That Committee received over 14,000 letters and emails,and 60 organisations responded to the call for evidence. In addition to hearing and cross-questioning groups and individuals with a specific concern either for or against a change in the law, the Committee also visited Oregon, The Netherlands and Switzerland to seek evidence from those jurisdictions where either Assisted Suicide or Euthanasia had been legalised. The three-volume Report of that Committee was published in April 2005, (Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill: The Stationery Office, April 2005) and formed the basis for subsequent debates in the House of Lords.

In the Church of England, Bishop Christopher Herbert gave the keynote speech in the debate on the subject in the General Synod in July 2005.

Since 2005 the discussion in other places, especially in the media, has continued, with proponents and opponents alike seeking to make their views known. As a result, Christopher Herbert has been invited by churches, conference organisers and schools to assist them in their thinking and, drawing on his experience on the Select Committee, is able to bring an interesting, well-founded and challenging perspective to bear.

He is a member of the Advisory Committee of the International Care Ethics Observatory at the University of Surrey and also a visiting Professor in Christian Ethics there.