The right to life is a core human right which has not yet received the detailed legal analysis that it requires. This book provides detailed, critical analysis of the controversial human right to life and, in particular, assesses the weight of conflicting interests which could and/or should serve to override the right. This contemporary study of the right to life focuses on the legal, as well as ethical, issues raised by the value of life in modern day society. It seeks to analyse the development, meaning and value of the fundamental human right to life in the context of its conflicts with other competing interests. The book begins with an overview of the right to life in which the concept of life itself is first analysed, before both the right and its legal protection and enforcement are subjected to historical, philosophical and comparative analysis. The remainder of the book identifies, and assesses the merits of, various competing interests. These comprise armed conflict; prevention of crime; rights of others; autonomy; quality of life; and finite resources. The right to life is unusual in having potential application to so many of today's ethically controversial questions. This new work investigates specific topics of current political, legal and ethical concern such as the right to life during international conflicts, the role of lethal force in law enforcement, the death penalty, the right to life of a foetus in the context of legalised abortion, and the significance of quality of life and autonomy issues in respect of euthanasia and assisted suicide.