Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards

To protect people who are unable to make decisions for themselves it may be necessary to detain them to safeguard their well-being. If someone lacks the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves then a Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards or an Order of the Court of Protection may be required to ensure their best interests are looked after.

Who does Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards apply to?

Depriving someone of their liberty must not be taken lightly. It is also important to understand that every capacitated individual has the right to make their own decisions, even the wrong ones, and this is enshrined in law.

The legislation applies to individuals over the age of 18 who have a mental disorder and lack capacity to consent to arrangements made for their care or treatment in either a hospital or a care home.

Under these circumstances deprivation of liberty may be necessary to protect them from harm where detention under the Mental Health Act 1983 is not appropriate.

How do Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards work?

Hospitals or care homes cannot simply deprive someone of their liberty even if their intentions are good. They must apply for an Authorisation of Deprivation of Liberty. This requires a series of tests to be undertaken by two individuals one of whom will be a doctor and based on the outcome of these reports a decision will be taken.

The person under assessment has a right to be represented by a family member, friend or an Independent Mental Health Capacity Advocate.

The length of any authorisation granted is dealt with on a case by case basis but will be no longer than 12 months.

What can you do if you or a loved one is deprived of their liberty wrongly?

Speak to our team immediately. We specialise in Mental Health & Incapacity Law and passionately believe that to wrongly deprive an individual of their liberty removes their integrity as a human being. Legislation is there for good reason. It protects individuals who cannot make their own decisions and as a society we should act responsibly.
There is a Code of Practice in place that provides detailed guidance for hospitals, care homes, police and other authorities. Unfortunately many are not aware and continually abuse the rights of individuals by unlawfully taking their liberty.

If you believe you or a loved one has been wrongly deprived of their liberty call us on 0151 632 6699 or email