House of Commons Library briefing on Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards

House of Commons Library, October 2017

This briefing reviews Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) that were introduced into the Mental Capacity Act by the Mental Health Act 2007.


There have been recent changes affecting the DoLS. A Supreme Court judgement in 2014 significantly widened the definition of deprivation of liberty, meaning more people were subsequently considered to have their liberty deprived. There was a ten-fold increase in the number of deprivation of liberty applications following the judgment.

In March 2017, the Law Commission published a report and Draft Bill recommending an overhaul of the DoLS process. The Law Commission recommends that DoLS are repealed as a matter of urgency, and are replaced by a new scheme called the Liberty Protection Safeguards. The new safeguards intend to streamline the process for assessing whether a deprivation of liberty is necessary, and obtaining the required authorisation. The Government is due to publish its response to the recommendations.

Click here to view the briefing.