Mental Capacity Act
Please see the Mental Capacity Act page for a brief introduction to the Act.
Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards
Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLs) were introduced in England and Wales in April 2009 as part of the Mental Capacity Act 2005. The aim of DoLs is to provide protection for vulnerable people who are accommodated in hospitals or care homes in circumstances that amount to a deprivation of their liberty and, who lack the capacity to consent to the care or treatment they required.
There is no simple definition of ‘deprivation of liberty’ – it depends on the circumstances of each case. However a number of previous court cases give some indication of situations where a person has been deprived of their liberty. Factors to be considered, but not limited to, are:
staff having total control over the person’s care and movement
staff controlling who the person can see and what kind of treatment they have
staff having control over all the decisions in a persons life
other people, such as carers wanting the person to be discharged.
Deprivation of liberty safeguards only apply to adults aged 18 and over and do not apply to people while they are detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act 1983.
The typical process for a deprivation of liberty is for the care home or hospital where the person is staying (known as the 'Managing Authority') to apply to the Local Authority or Primary Care Trust (know as the 'Supervisory Body') to be able to lawfully deprive someone of their liberty.
The supervisory body carries out a number of assessments to ensure that the person has a mental disorder and/or lacks the ability to make decisions about where they live or their treatment and that any deprivation of liberty would be in best interest of that person.
The outcome of these assessments decide whether a deprivation of liberty is granted or not.
Further information on Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards can be found in one of the following sections: