Litigation: 'Right to die' case delayed by fees dispute

The ‘right to die’ test case has been stalling for several months due to a dispute about the payment of transcription costs, Die Burger reports. As previously reported, Dr Sue Walter and Dieter Harck, are applying to the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) to legalize euthanasia. The Ministers of Justice, Health, and the Health Professions Council (HPCSA) are opposing the application. Due to the applicants’ health conditions, all the parties agreed to lead evidence on commission. This was to cater for the eventuality that they will not survive for the duration of the trial. Retired Judge Neels Claassen heard the evidence in March. The parties then agreed to have the proceedings transcribed and confirmed among themselves. According to the report, all the parties except the HPCSA agreed to carry the costs. The HPCSA says it is not hampering the case. Milly Moduka, legal representative of the HPCSA, says the applicants’ lawyers informed the HPCSA they are acting pro bono and that they cannot contribute. The HPCSA then ‘reconsidered’ its position. There was an option of free transcriptions, Moduka says. A case management meeting is scheduled for the end of October to address the deadlock.

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