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This chapter establishes why understanding end-of-life law reform is important and notes the constant agitation for legal changes in the field. It describes in broad terms the issues considered in end-of-life law. They include assisted dying (voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide), decisions about whether to withhold and withdraw potentially life-sustaining treatment and the law that governs palliative care. There are also some ‘new’ end-of-life practices that sit across these topics such as terminal sedation and voluntarily stopping eating and drinking. The chapter also considers the challenges of law reform. Changing law is generally a difficult undertaking but there are number of features of end-of-life law that make this particularly difficult. Finally, this chapter discusses each of the case study contributions to the book and its proposed overall approach.
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