In this paper, I explore the sanctity of life doctrine, and consider the scope of section 4(5) of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, a provision designed to give statutory effect to the sanctity principle. Rather than question the intellectual validity of the doctrine, I examine the legal and practical problems created by this limited section. I argue that it necessarily creates dilemmas for medical practitioners, which could only be avoided by a wholesale adoption of the principle. I conclude, therefore, that the provision fails to ensure a coherent moral and intellectual shape to the law.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/john_coggon/1/