Deprivation of Liberty

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards

It is unlawful for any person to deprive any other person of his liberty except under certain circumstances and with due legal authorisation. A Supreme Court judgement in March 2014 defined deprivation of liberty in such a way as to reduce the threshold at which someone is deemed to be deprived of their liberty if they lack the mental capacity to agree to the arrangements. This applies in housing settings as well as care homes and hospitals.

In hospitals and care homes an authorisation mechanism called Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) gives a local authority the responsibility as the "supervisory body" to authorise a deprivation of liberty for care and treatment in a person's best interests. In housing settings, if someone lacks the capacity to decide where they should live, and the level of care they need, and if they are in receipt of publicly funded or arranged care services, authorisation currently requires an application to the Court of Protection.

The Law Commission has been tasked with reviewing DoLS and considering their extension to housing settings. The will be conducting a four-month consultation on recommendations in the summer of 2015 and publishing their final report and draft bill in the summer of 2017. In the meantime, authorisation needs to be gained through the Court of Protection.

The resources on this page begin to set out relevant law and issues in relation to the housing sector. It does not include information on deprivation of liberty safeguards (DoLS) which apply to hospitals and care homes.

Resources listed below are split between 'General DoL information' and 'Housing specific DoL information'

General DoL information

Housing specific DoL information