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 The Law Commission recommends that DoLS are repealed as a matter of urgency, and are replaced by a new scheme called the Liberty Protection Safeguards.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.


Mental capacity and deprivation of liberty

Law Commission, March 2017

This report presents recommendations by the Law Commission for a new system to replace Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) to ensure that the rights of vulnerable people are better protected.

Click here to view the full report.

Click here to access other documents from the consultation.

Capacity and consent: new tool to support your decision making

General Medical Council, June 2016

If you are in doubt about your patient’s capacity to make a decision about their treatment, a new interactive online tool will help you identify the steps you need to take.

This tool draws on the principles in GMC guidance Consent: patients and doctors making decisions together and Treatment and care towards the end of life. It includes a case study at each stage of the decision-making process to show how the guidance applies to the clinical situations you may face.

The tool also features a range of downloadable resources, such as relevant guidance, a flowchart setting out all the steps in the tool, case studies, and a record to help you reflect on your skills and understanding.

Click here for further information and to access the tool.

Department of Health response to the Law Commission’s consultation on mental capacity and deprivation of liberty

Department of Health, December 2015

The Department of Health has published its response to the Law Commission’s consultation on how the law should regulate deprivations of liberty (DoLS) for people who lack capacity to consent to their care and treatment arrangements. The consultation proposes that DoLS should be replaced by a new system called ‘protective care’. It also proposes that there should be a new code of practice. The Law Commission will publish its final recommendations by the end of 2016.

Click here to view the response.

Learning resources: Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) in social work

Department of Health, October 2015

These resources provide guidance for adult social care workers on the Mental Capacity Act and how it relates to their continuing professional development.

Click here for further information and to download the resources.

‘Indirect payments’ for people who lack capacity: How are they working in practice?

Mental Health Foundation, March 2015

This report summarizes the findings from a study investigating ‘indirect payments’ for people who lack capacity, exploring how these payments are working in practice.

Click here to download the report.

Advance Planning for People with Bipolar Disorder

East Midlands Academic Science Network, February 2015

This guide has been developed by NHS and university partners and is based on extensive research involving people with Bipolar Disorder and is designed to help them advance plan for times when they might be unwell. The booklet will help people with Bipolar Disorder to understand the Mental Capacity Act and navigate the law.  The booklet has the potential to support people with Bipolar Disorder by helping them to retain control as well as protect their welfare, property and finances during periods where they may experience a loss of capacity.

Click here to download a copy of the booklet.

Click here for more information on the project.