Consultation – Mental Capacity and Deprivation of Liberty

Mental Capacity and Deprivation of Liberty

On 7 July 2015 the Law Commission opened a consultation on the law of mental capacity and deprivation of liberty. The consultation is open until 2 November 2015. The commission expect to publish a final report with our recommendations and a draft Bill in 2016.

The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) aim to protect people who lack mental capacity, but who need to be deprived of liberty so they can be given care and treatment in a hospital or care home. If a person’s right to liberty needs to be infringed in other settings, an authorisation must be obtained from the Court of Protection.

The DoLS have been criticised since they were introduced for being overly complex and excessively bureaucratic. In March 2014, a House of Lords Select Committee published a detailed report concluding that the DoLS were “not fit for purpose” and recommended that they be replaced. At the same time, a case in the United Kingdom Supreme Court held that far greater numbers of people fell to be dealt with under the DoLS system than had previously been thought. This has placed increasing burdens on local authorities and health and social care practitioners administering the DoLS.

For more information and to download the consultation documents see here.