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Information for service users, family, friends and carers


This page provides information for people who are or maybe being deprived of their liberty and their family, friends and unpaid carers.

An overview of the deprivation of liberty safeguards including what they are and who they apply to can be found on the Mental Capacity Act & Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards page, this should help you identify if the safeguards apply to you or someone you know or care for.


What to do if you think someone is being deprived of their liberty?

For the purposes of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, deprivation of liberty is not authorised if:

  • a person is being kept in a hospital or care home in circumstances that amount to depriving them of their liberty, and
  • their deprivation of liberty has not been authorised by an urgent or standard authorisation or by the Court of Protection, and nor is an authorisation being sought from that court.

If you are a resident in a care home or in hospital and you feel that you are being deprived of your liberty you can ask the managers of the home or hospital to refer you for an assessment of your situation.

You may be visiting someone close to you in a care home or hospital and feel the way they are being cared for is depriving them of their liberty without a proper authorisation. The Act includes procedures for dealing with such a situation.

If you believe that someone is being deprived of their liberty without proper authority, the Act allows for you to ask the hospital or care home to request a "standard authorisation". You can do this by completing Letter 1 [Word 28KB].

If the hospital or care home does not then request a "standard authorisation" within a reasonable period, you can ask the supervisory body  to decide whether or not there is an unauthorised deprivation of liberty. You can do this by completing Letter 2 [Word 29KB].


What happens when a deprivation of liberty is authorised?

When a deprivation of liberty is authorised it will set out when and how certain restrictions can be used.

Every person who is subject to an authorised DoL must have an allocated representative. This can be a family member, friend or if there is no one appropriate a paid representative will be allocated.

Further support is available for both the person being deprived of their liberty and their representative through the Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA) service. More information about the IMCA service can be found on the Independent Advocacy page. 



When a deprivation of liberty is in place it can be reviewed at any point. The purpose of the review procedure is to assess whether:

  • a person still meets the qualifying requirements for being deprived of their liberty, or whether the reasons why they do have changed; and
  • any conditions attached to the standard authorisation need to be varied

The supervisory body must carry out a review if one is requested by the person being deprived of their liberty, their representative, or by the hospital or care home where they are staying. 

If you being deprived of your liberty you can request a review by completing Letter 3 [Word 26KB]. If your are the representative of a person being deprived of their liberty you can request a review by completing Letter 4 [Word 27KB]


Court of Protection

We understand that in some cases a person or someone acting on their behalf may not agree with a deprivation of liberty or some of the conditions surrounding it.

In these cases we strongly urge that you speak to the care home or hospital where you, or your friend / family member is resident. As mentioned above a review can be carried out if requested, and in the event that all other available routes have been tried an application can be made to the Court of Protection.

Applications to the Court of Protection can be made under the following circumstances:

  • Before an authorisation is given - this can be done by you or someone acting on your behalf and would be to ask the Court to decide whether you have capacity or not.

  • After an urgent authorisation has be given - this can be done by you or certain people acting on your behalf, such as a deputy and can be about whether the urgent authorisation should have been given, the period for which it is to be in force and/or the purpose for which it has been given.

  • After a standard authorisation has been given - this can be done by you or your representative and can be about whether you meet the qualifying requirements for deprivation of liberty, the period for which it is to be in force, the purpose for which is has been given and/or the conditions attached to the authorisation.

Further information about the Court of Protection and how to make an application can be found at www.directgov.uk

For more information on becoming a deputy, see the GOV.UK website.


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