A judge says an Ontario woman with incurable erosive osteoarthritis fits a key requirement to receive a medically assisted death after her doctor refused to help her because he feared criminal prosecution.

In a decision delivered in a Toronto court on Monday, Superior Court Justice Paul Perell ruled the woman's "natural death is reasonably foreseeable."

He said the 77-year-old woman's doctor had reached the same conclusion but changed his mind because he feared he would be accused of murder.

Perell did not grant the woman's request to declare unequivocally that she meets all criteria for medically assisted death, but he noted that clarifying the federal law on reasonably foreseeable death would help her case.

Shanaaz Gokool, CEO of Dying with Dignity Canada, says she is pleased with the ruling and hopes it will give doctors more confidence in dealing with similar cases.

Gokool praised the woman, identified in court documents only by the initials AB, for having the courage to take her case to court so she can die with dignity.