The court's verdict may have gone some way to resolving legal uncertainty surrounding the controversial legislation, but it is unlikely to make it any easier for someone to actually commit suicide legally. While doctors in the Northern Territory can in theory help a terminally ill patient to die as the law stands following its introduction on July 1, in practice no one is willing to while the legal situation remains unresolved, for fear of facing legal action later if the euthanasia legislation is overturned. Under the euthanasia law, a terminally ill patient must obtain the signatures of three doctors, one of whom is a disease specialist, before being allowed to die - with the result that so far no one has been able to get assistance to legally commit suicide legally. Cancer sufferer Max Bell, who had travelled to the Northern Territory hoping to be the first person to die under the new legislation, has gone home to New South Wales and says he is unlikely to return. Dr Philip Nitschke, a vocal supporter of the euthanasia legislation, said yesterday that while the Supreme Court's decision was good news, 'until it translates into signatures from doctors it won't really have any major impact'. Not only does the legislation still face a challenge in the High Court of Australia on constitutional grounds, next month it must also run the gauntlet of a private member's bill opposing the euthanasia laws in the federal Parliament.