Deprivation of liberty safeguards: a practical guide
The deprivation of liberty safeguards (DoLS) protect people who do not have the mental capacity to consent to treatment.
They apply to people who lack mental capacity who live in a:
- care home
- supported living environment
The safeguards make sure that any treatment a person in that situation receives is appropriate and in their best interests.
Liberty Protection Safeguards
DoLS were due to be replaced by the Liberty Protection Safeguards in October 2020, as part of the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Act which became law in May 2019. Due to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19), this has been delayed until April 2022.
We’ll update you when the new Code of Practice has been created.
We’ve issued guidance on the law relating to DoLS. It helps solicitors and people working in health and social care to identify when a deprivation of liberty may be taking place.
The guidance includes fictional scenarios to explain the law following the landmark judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of Cheshire West (2014). This judgment:
- led to an increase in the number of people in England and Wales who are considered to be “deprived” of their liberty for the purposes of receiving care and treatment
- emphasised the importance of regular, independent checks to make sure that decisions being made about people deprived of their liberty are in their best interests
Quick reference guides
Read quick reference guides for specific care settings that highlight:
- factors that may restrict a person’s liberty
- questions to help you establish whether a person is being deprived of their liberty