Such a move would mean that volumes of evidence collected by Nicklinson's legal team, addressing key issues in the right-to-die debate that were not heard during his case, could still end up being presented in the supreme court.
It would allow Nicklinson's lawyers to publicly confront the arguments against a change in the law in the highest court in the land, which could provide a pivotal moment in the right-to-die debate.
"In a civilised society nobody should have to suffer in the way Tony did," Nicklinson's wife, Jane, told the Observer on Thursday, the day before her husband's funeral. In a direct appeal to MPs not to duck the issue, she said: "Look at all of the support we have from the public, does this count for nothing? Imagine it were you, how would you feel? Tony showed the world what locked-in syndrome is like. Can you imagine spending the rest of your life like that?"
Nicklinson, who died aged 58, was a keen sportsman until he was paralysed by a stroke in 2005. He lost a landmark right-to-die action at the high court last month and died at home after contracting pneumonia, having refused food. His family said he had been devastated by the ruling. Nicklinson argued that the law should be changed so that a doctor who helped him end his life when he chose could plead a defence of necessity to a charge of murder.
But the court said that "changes involving matters of controversial social policy" were for parliament and rejected Nicklinson's claim after a two-day hearing, which his legal team said was not enough time to examine the complexities of the issues.
"There is strong public interest in this issue being pursued and considered by the highest court in the country – the supreme court," said Nicklinson's solicitor, Saimo Chahal, of the law firm Bindmans.
"What happened to Tony could happen to anyone. Everyone can understand the situation and see that respect for autonomy and self-determination are important issues for society," Chahal said. "The support for Tony has been overwhelming and the public would wish to see the issue considered fully and properly by the supreme court. It would be a great shame for the issue to be left unresolved in this way."
Jane Nicklinson said she would "support 100% anyone who is willing to take the case forward. I hope that Tony's contribution can help, and I am happy for anything he has said to be used to further the case. At the very least he has left a legacy."
Nicklinson's lawyers have drawn parallels with a recent case in Canada that they cited in their legal arguments as a "relevant and a persuasive authority". Although the UK courts are under no legal duty to recognise the Canada case, it is likely to influence the UK debate as supporters continue their campaign for a change in the law
"That court heard evidence over 20 days; ours was over two days," Chahal said. "The Canadian court produced a highly reasoned judgment running to nearly 400 pages that dealt with all of the concerns raised, including about the potential impact on vulnerable people."
The Canadian court ruled that the criminal law was unfair and discriminatory and ordered parliament to amend it. It agreed that one of the applicants should be allowed the right to have a death assisted by a doctor.
In the Nicklinson case, a key concern of the high court was the impact any change in the law would have on vulnerable people. Anti-euthanasia campaigners claim a change would place people with disabilities, who fear being a burden on others, under greater pressure to end their lives. But arguments against this crucial claim, drawn up by Nicklinson's lawyers, were not scrutinised in court.
"None of the evidence in our case was challenged by the defendant and the only focus of the arguments was that the courts should leave this subject to parliament, as it was too difficult and controversial," Chahal said.
She said she was not aware of any person who could make a suitable claimant but hoped that someone would "wish to raise these issues and take forward the appeal".
Jane Nicklinson said: "In the countries where assisted suicide or legalised euthanasia exists, there is no substantiated evidence of abuse and there are rigorous systems in place to make sure that the schemes work properly. What was proposed in Tony's case would mean that each time someone wanted to die with assistance, the court would have to consider the evidence and decide as they do in cases involving the withdrawal of nutrition and hydration."
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010