Mental Capacity and Deprivation of Liberty

The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) aim to protect people who lack mental capacity. 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.

Law Commission’s consultation paper concluded that the DoLS are ‘deeply flawed’. They have provisionally proposed that they be replaced with a new system, to be called ‘Protective Care’. Broadly speaking, protective care had three aspects: the supportive care scheme, the restrictive care and treatment scheme, and the hospitals and palliative care scheme.

During their four month public consultation they attended 83 events across England and Wales. This was one of the most extensive public consultation exercises undertaken by the Law Commission. They received 583 written responses!

In May 2016 they published an interim statement, summarising the key messages from consultation and setting out some of their initial conclusions. They are working on a final report with their recommendations and a draft Bill in December 2016.

If you want take a look for yourselves and download the statement click on the link: