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Blurring the boundaries: DoLS

The courts are diluting the effectiveness of the Deprivation of ?Liberty Safeguards in what looks to be a policy-motivated move, ?says Laura Davidson

29 November 2012

The Department of Health has recently published its third annual report on the use of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) since they were introduced into the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) by the Mental Health Act 2007 on 1 April 2009.

The introduction of the DoLS process resulted from the violations of articles 5(1) and 5(4) of the European Convention on Human Rights found in HL v United Kingdom [2004] ECHR 471. In that case, HL was an incapacitated adult who complied with the deprivation of his liberty.

The lack of statutory safeguards meant that he could not have challenged his deprivation of liberty in a court or tribunal, and there was no process by which another person might have brought such proceedings on his behalf.

Impact assessment

It is the role of a managing authority (i.e. care homes and hospitals) t...

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