Search Legislation

Suicide Act 1961

 Help about what version

What Version

  • Latest available (Revised)
  • Original (As enacted)
 Help about advanced features

Advanced Features

More Resources

Changes over time for: Suicide Act 1961

 Help about opening options

Changes to legislation:

There are currently no known outstanding effects for the Suicide Act 1961. Help about Changes to Legislation

Close

Changes to Legislation

Revised legislation carried on this site may not be fully up to date. At the current time any known changes or effects made by subsequent legislation have been applied to the text of the legislation you are viewing by the editorial team. Please see ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ for details regarding the timescales for which new effects are identified and recorded on this site.

Legislation Crest

E+W

Suicide Act 1961

1961 CHAPTER 60 9 and 10 Eliz 2

An Act to amend the law of England and Wales relating to suicide, and for purposes connected therewith.

[3rd August 1961]

1 Suicide to cease to be a crime.E+W

The rule of law whereby it is a crime for a person to commit suicide is hereby abrogated.

2 Criminal liability for complicity in another’s suicide.E+W

[F1(1)A person (“D”) commits an offence if—

(a)D does an act capable of encouraging or assisting the suicide or attempted suicide of another person, and

(b)D's act was intended to encourage or assist suicide or an attempt at suicide.

(1A)The person referred to in subsection (1)(a) need not be a specific person (or class of persons) known to, or identified by, D.

(1B)D may commit an offence under this section whether or not a suicide, or an attempt at suicide, occurs.

(1C)An offence under this section is triable on indictment and a person convicted of such an offence is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years.]

(2)If on the trial of an indictment for murder or manslaughter [F2of a person it is proved that the deceased person committed suicide, and the accused committed an offence under subsection (1) in relation to that suicide, the jury may find the accused guilty of the offence under subsection (1). ]

(3)The enactments mentioned in the first column of the First Schedule to this Act shall have effect subject to the amendments provided for in the second column (which preserve in relation to offences under this section the previous operation of those enactments in relation to murder or manslaughter).

(4). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . F3no proceedings shall be instituted for an offence under this section except by or with the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

[F42AActs capable of encouraging or assistingU.K.

(1)If D arranges for a person (“D2”) to do an act that is capable of encouraging or assisting the suicide or attempted suicide of another person and D2 does that act, D is also to be treated for the purposes of this Act as having done it.

(2)Where the facts are such that an act is not capable of encouraging or assisting suicide or attempted suicide, for the purposes of this Act it is to be treated as so capable if the act would have been so capable had the facts been as D believed them to be at the time of the act or had subsequent events happened in the manner D believed they would happen (or both).

(3)A reference in this Act to a person (“P”) doing an act that is capable of encouraging the suicide or attempted suicide of another person includes a reference to P doing so by threatening another person or otherwise putting pressure on another person to commit or attempt suicide.]

[F42BCourse of conductU.K.

A reference in this Act to an act includes a reference to a course of conduct, and a reference to doing an act is to be read accordingly.]

3 Short title, repeal and extent.E+W

(1)This Act may be cited as the Suicide Act 1961.

(2). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . F5

(3)This Act shall extend to England and Wales only, except as regards the amendments made by Part II of the First Schedule and except that the Interments (felo de se) Act 1882, shall be repealed also for the Channel Islands.

Textual Amendments

SCHEDULES

Sections 2 & 3.

FIRST SCHEDULEU.K. Adaptation of Enactments Relating to Murder or Manslaughter

Modifications etc. (not altering text)

C3The text of Sch. 1 Pt. II is in the form in which it was originally enacted: it was not reproduced in Statutes in Force and, except as indicated, does not reflect any amendments or repeals which may have been made prior to 1.2.1991.

Part IE+W Amendments Limited to England and Wales

Enactment and subject matterAmendment
. . . F6
F7. . .
F7. . .F7. . .

Part IIU.K. Amendments not Limited to England and Wales.

Modifications etc. (not altering text)

C4The text of Sch. 1 Pt. II is in the form in which it was originally enacted: it was not reproduced in Statutes in Force and, except as indicated, does not reflect any amendments or repeals which may have been made prior to 1.2.1991.

Enactment and subject matter.Amendment.
. . . F8The list of crimes shall include aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring suicide.
The Visiting Forces Act, 1952—
F9. . .F9. . .
Paragraph 1 of the Schedule (Offences not triable by courts of England, Wales or Northern Ireland in the cases provided for by section three of the Act).In sub-paragraph (a) (which provides that murder and certain other offences are to be comprised in the expression “offences against the person”) after the word “assault” there shall be inserted the words “and any offence of aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring suicide or an attempt to commit suicide”.
The Army Act, 1955—
Subsections (4) and (5) of section seventy (Exclusion of court-martial jurisdiction over certain offences committed in the United Kingdom).At the end of subsection (4) there shall be added the words— “In this and the following subsection the references to murder shall apply also to aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring suicide”.
The Air Force Act, 1955—
Subsections (4) and (5) of section seventy (Exclusion of court-martial jurisdiction over certain offences committed in the United Kingdom).At the end of subsection (4) there shall be added the following words— “In this and the following subsection the references to murder shall apply also to aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring suicide”.
The Naval Discipline Act, 1957—
Subsection (2) of section forty-eight (Exclusion of court-martial jurisdiction over certain offences committed in the United kingdom).At the end of the subsection there shall be added the words— “In this subsection the references to murder shall apply also to aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring suicide”.

Textual Amendments

F8Sch. 1 Pt. II entry relating to Extradition Act 1870 repealed by Extradition Act 1989 (c. 33, SIF 48), s. 37, Sch. 2

F10F10SECOND SCHEDULEU.K.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Back to top

Options/Help

Print Options

Close

Legislation is available in different versions:

Latest Available (revised):The latest available updated version of the legislation incorporating changes made by subsequent legislation and applied by our editorial team. Changes we have not yet applied to the text, can be found in the ‘Changes to Legislation’ area.

Original (As Enacted or Made): The original version of the legislation as it stood when it was enacted or made. No changes have been applied to the text.

Close

See additional information alongside the content

Geographical Extent: Indicates the geographical area that this provision applies to. For further information see ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.

Show Timeline of Changes: See how this legislation has or could change over time. Turning this feature on will show extra navigation options to go to these specific points in time. Return to the latest available version by using the controls above in the What Version box.

Close

Opening Options

Different options to open legislation in order to view more content on screen at once

Close

More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources
Close

Timeline of Changes

This timeline shows the different points in time where a change occurred. The dates will coincide with the earliest date on which the change (e.g an insertion, a repeal or a substitution) that was applied came into force. The first date in the timeline will usually be the earliest date when the provision came into force. In some cases the first date is 01/02/1991 (or for Northern Ireland legislation 01/01/2006). This date is our basedate. No versions before this date are available. For further information see the Editorial Practice Guide and Glossary under Help.