A Deprivation of Liberty Safeguard (DoLs) is part of the framework introduced by the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA). A person who is being deprived of their liberty as a result of their care needs is entitled to legal safeguards. This is to make sure that the restrictions in place to keep them safe are appropriate and proportionate. The Mental Capacity Act safeguards apply to people who are:

  • Over 18
  • Have “an impairment of or a disturbance in the functioning of, the mind or brain”
  • Whose freedom is being restricted; and
  • Who do not have the mental capacity to make decisions about their care or treatment

The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) procedure is designed to protect your rights if you are deprived of your liberty in a hospital or care home in England or Wales and you lack mental capacity to consent to being there. If it is assessed that you do not have mental capacity to consent to care or treatment, it may be necessary, in your best interests, for other people to decide to place you somewhere to receive it.

In July 2018, the Government published a Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill. This passed into law the replacement of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLs) with the Liberty Protection Safeguards. The introduction and transition to this new scheme has currently been postponed. Follow the link below to find out more information on the Social Care Institue for Excellence website.