Islanders selected to consider one of the most difficult ethical questions Jersey has ever faced are to be paid £300 as a thank you for their help.
Invitations to become part of a Citizens’ Jury, tasked with considering whether assisted dying should be allowed in Jersey, and under what circumstances, were sent out to a random sample of more than 4,500 addresses this month.
Anyone over the age of 16 in those homes who wishes to take part can register for the Jury until Monday 25 January.
The Jury will then be narrowed down to between 18 and 24 people who broadly represent the island.
The ten sessions are set to take place between 18 March – 15 May, and the Jury’s recommendations will be discussed by the States Assembly later in the year.
Pictured: A public survey, a GP and doctors' survey, and a public meeting indicated there were islanders who supported bringing in assisted dying.
Deputy Richard Renouf, Minister for Health and Social Services said: “I committed to establishing a Citizens' Jury last year to consider the sensitive issue of assisted dying.
“This unfortunately, had to be delayed due to Covid-19, but I’m glad we can start this process this year.
“Every member of the Jury will have a pivotal role in helping ensure that the States Assembly, and other key stakeholders, benefit from an in-depth understanding of our community’s response to assisted dying ahead of a debate later this year.
“I hope that Islanders will register their interest in participating. This is a real opportunity to influence and inform future policy and legislation in Jersey.”
Pictured: A petition to introduce assisted dying reached over 1,800 signatures in 2018.
“Members of the Our Hospital Citizens’ Panel were entitled to claim any expenses incurred during their involvement in the project.”
An Independent Advisory Panel has also been established to monitor the Jury and maintain integrity in the process.
Michael De La Haye OBE, a member of the panel, said: “The Minister has tasked us as Panel members with overseeing the integrity of the Citizens' Jury process, both in terms of its design and content.
“We will work with independent organisations, who are leaders in participatory democracy, to ensure that the make-up of the Jury represents our Island, and that the evidence presented to Jury members is balanced, accurate and comprehensive.”
As a 'thank you' for their time, each jury member will receive £300.
“Members of some citizens’ panels and juries are entitled to remuneration based on a number of factors, including the time commitment required. Those that were on the panel for the Care Inquiry were given £50 per day in grocery vouchers and islanders on the Climate Change Citizens’ Panel and Assisted Dying Citizens’ Jury will receive an equivalent sum," a Government spokesperson explained.
The decision to establish the Jury follows a petition that garnered over 1,800 signatures in 2018, started by an islander whose mother was terminally ill with lung cancer.
In 2018, a proposal to allow assisted dying in Guernsey was rejected, with the island’s former Chief Minister Gavin St Pier remarking despite the result that “this is an inevitable change which in the fullness of time Guernsey will one day adopt.”
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