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Mental Health Law Briefing 251: Deprivation of liberty safeguard reforms – publication of bill

The Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill was introduced to the House of Lords yesterday for its first reading, following a Law Commission consultation last year.

The bill seeks to replace the current DoLs regime with ‘Liberty Protection Safeguards’. It recognises the difficulties inherent in the existing system and particularly the administrative burden on local authorities caused by the significant increase in deprivation of liberty cases following the Supreme Court’s landmark ‘Cheshire West’ ruling in March 2014.

The Liberty Protection Safeguards will continue to protect the vulnerable. They will introduce a process through which authorisations will be permitted by the NHS. Restrictions on living or care arrangements will be encompassed through an overall approach to care planning rather than as a separate process which the current complex system provides for.

The reforms are estimated to save £200million a year for local authorities. It is hoped they will lift some of the pressure on councils so that efforts can be focused on frontline care and clearing the backlog of  over 100,000 people who have yet to have their safeguards assessed.

Minister for Care Caroline Dinenage said “We know local authorities are under pressure which is why these reforms are so important: to reduce the burden on councils so they can focus where they are needed on the frontline”.

This new law seeks to establish a simpler and more efficient system with greater participation of carers and family and the bill is anticipated to be published today.



This briefing is for guidance purposes only. RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken or not taken in relation to this note and recommends that appropriate legal advice be taken having regard to a client's own particular circumstances.

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