The Mental Capacity Act 2005 allows a person to be restrained and for restrictions to be used if they are in a persons’ best interests. However, if the restraints and restrictions deprive a person of their liberty, then extra safeguards are needed. These are called Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS).

DoLS apply to individuals over the age of 18 who lack mental capacity and where detention under the Mental Health Act 1983 is not appropriate. The safeguards can only be used where the individual is being deprived of their liberty in a hospital or care home. A person can also be deprived of their liberty in other situations where the Court of Protection can authorise the Deprivation of Liberty.

A Deprivation of Liberty occurs when ‘the person is under continuous supervision and control and is not free to leave and the person lacks capacity to consent to these arrangements’. Hospitals and care homes must therefore apply to the Local Authority for what is called a standard authorisation. An assessor will meet with the individual and complete assessments in order to produce a report. The safeguards require that any care or treatment regime constituting a Deprivation of Liberty must be in the best interests of the adult assessed to be lacking capacity and must be necessary to protect them from harm.

If a standard authorisation is granted, then the safeguards require that the person has someone to represent them. This is called the relevant person’s representative (RPR). The RPR is usually a family member or friend but in some circumstances they may appoint a paid RPR.

Another safeguard is the right to challenge an authorisation in the Court of Protection. You may want to do this if you think:

  • the authorisation may not have been authorised properly;
  • the person subject to the authorisation objects to where they are living;
  • the authorisation is not in the persons best interests; or
  • the person has mental capacity to make their own decisions - court of protection

We specialise in Mental Health and Mental Capacity Law and regularly represent all parties in Deprivation of Liberty proceedings. We believe that every person has a right to have their views heard. To deprive someone of their liberty often takes away that right. We are experts in ensuring individuals rights and best interests are protected.

If you require advice and assistance relating to a deprivation of liberty affecting either yourself or someone you know, then do not hesitate to contact us on 020 3735 1999/1998.