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Deprivation of liberty solicitors (DoLS)

The law in relation to deprivation of liberty is extremely complex and has been subject to a lot of recent changes. It is therefore important that legal advice is sought at the earliest opportunity.

Our specialist deprivation of liberty solicitors have extensive expertise and knowledge in this complex area of law. 

The term ‘deprivation of liberty’ is often viewed negatively, however, it is often in a person’s best interests to be deprived of their liberty, in order to keep them safe.

We are a nationwide company providing services throughout England & Wales. We can provide cost-effective fee options or legal aid funding (subject to eligibility). For more information, please get in touch with our DoLS solicitors on 01616 966 229, or alternatively, fill out our online enquiry form, and a team member will reach out to you.

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Our experience in matters relating to deprivation of liberty

Our specialist solicitors have extensive experience dealing with all aspects of deprivation of liberty authorisations and challenges, including:

  • Advising family members in relation to deprivation of liberty authorisations, including capacity assessments, and best interests assessments
  • Advising family members of the role and duties of a relevant persons representative (RPR)
  • Making applications to the Court of Protection to authorise a care package that results in a deprivation of liberty
  • Acting on behalf of vulnerable adults or their family members in Court of Protection proceedings relating to deprivation of liberty authorisations or challenges
  • Successfully challenging a deprivation of liberty, where a person is detained in hospital or a residential care home – often resulting in a reduction in restrictions to enable greater access to the community, or a move to a more suitable care home, or in some cases, securing a court order that a person can go home with the support of carers
  • Successfully challenging evidence of social workers, best interest’s assessors and psychiatrists that a disabled person lacks capacity to consent to staying at a care home.

Why choose our DoLS solicitors?

When it comes to matters of deprivation of liberty, selecting the right solicitors is crucial. At Stephensons, we are a team of dedicated professionals with a proven track record in handling cases related to deprivation of liberty. We believe that there are good reasons to choose Stephensons as your deprivation of liberty solicitors:

  • Expertise: our solicitors are specialists in the field of deprivation of liberty, possessing extensive knowledge of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the associated legal framework. With our expertise, you can be confident that your case will be handled with precision and care.
  • Experience: we have a wealth of experience representing clients in various deprivation of liberty cases, from challenging authorisations to successfully move someone to a more suitable placement, to achieving improvements in their quality of life. Our seasoned solicitors have successfully navigated complex legal scenarios, ensuring the best possible outcome for our clients.
  • Client-centric approach: at Stephensons, we prioritise our clients' well-being. Our solicitors take the time to understand your unique circumstances and tailor the approach to meet your specific needs. We are committed to providing you with the support and guidance you require throughout the legal process.
  • Legal Aid and cost-effective solutions: we understand that legal costs can be a concern. Legal Aid is available in deprivation of liberty cases subject to eligibility. Legal Aid is also non-means tested in some circumstances, so you may qualify regardless of your financial position. Stephensons offers competitive fee structures and, where applicable, potential access to alternative funding. Our aim is to make quality legal representation accessible to all, ensuring that financial constraints do not hinder justice.
  • Clear communication: we believe in transparent and open communication. Our solicitors will keep you informed at every step of your case, explaining legal concepts in plain English and answering any questions you may have. The team also have significant experience representing and communicating with disabled adults with a variety of cognitive impairments, and adapt their approach to suit your loved one’s needs.
  • Proven success: our track record speaks for itself. Stephensons has a history of achieving positive outcomes for our clients in deprivation of liberty cases. You can trust us to work tirelessly in your best interests.
  • Nationwide reach: with a presence across England and Wales, we can assist clients wherever they are located in some circumstances. Our network of offices alongside remote working ensures accessibility and convenience for our clients.
  • Compassion and empathy: deprivation of liberty cases often involve vulnerable individuals. Our solicitors approach each case with the compassion and empathy it deserves, ensuring that the human element is never overlooked. The team also has experts in mental capacity and welfare, holding accreditation from the Law Society in this field.
  • Responsive service: time is often of the essence in legal matters. We are committed to providing a responsive service, addressing your concerns promptly and efficiently.
  • Comprehensive support: beyond the legal aspects, we may be able to signpost and connect you with relevant support services, helping you or your loved one access the necessary care and assistance during challenging times.

When you choose Stephensons' deprivation of liberty solicitors, you are choosing a dedicated, experienced, and compassionate team that will vigorously advocate for you or your loved ones’ rights and interests. We are here to guide you through the legal process and provide the best possible representation in your deprivation of liberty case. Your peace of mind and justice are our top priorities.

Who do our solicitors help with DoLS authorisations or DOL orders?

Our solicitors can assist a variety of individuals and parties in matters related to Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) authorisations or DOL court orders. Here are some of the key parties our solicitors can help:

  • Individuals subject to DoLS (in a care home or hospital).
  • Family members and loved ones
  • Local authorities
  • Independent advocates including IMCAs and Care Act Advocates.

In essence, our solicitors can provide legal assistance and representation to anyone involved in or affected by Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) cases, whether it's individuals, family members, care providers, or authorities. Our role is to ensure that the DoLS process is carried out correctly and that individuals' rights and best interests are upheld within the legal framework.

What is deprivation of liberty?

The law states that a person may be being deprived of their liberty if they are ‘under continuous supervision and control’, are ‘not free to leave’ and lack mental capacity to consent to the arrangements. Deprivation of liberty examples include, if a person may live at home with a social care package in place or they may be living in a residential nursing home where the doors are locked and they are only able to go out when supervised by family members, friends or carers to keep them safe, due to their vulnerabilities.

In these circumstances, it is important that the deprivation of liberty is authorised in some way, if authorisation is not obtained then the person may be being unlawfully deprived of their liberty and their human rights may have been breached.

The method of authorising the deprivation of a person’s liberty will depend on where and how that person is being deprived of their liberty. It is therefore important that specialist legal advice is sought if you think that you or someone you know is being deprived of their liberty without authorisation or if you or they disagree with the authorisation.

It may be necessary for an application to be made to the Court of Protection, either to authorise the deprivation of liberty in the first place or to challenge an authorisation that is already in place.

How long can deprivation of liberty be authorised for?

Deprivation of liberty authorisation, if the individual is in a care home or hospital, is always based on the specific circumstances of the individual and the length of the authorisation can vary. The maximum amount of time that it can be authorised for at a time is 12 months. A renewal can be requested by the care home or hospital to begin as soon as the previous authorisation comes to an end.

If the need is urgent, an urgent authorisation for deprivation of liberty can be requested, which, if granted, will last for a maximum of seven days. This can then be extended, if authorised by the supervisory body.

Challenging deprivation of liberty authorisation

Our specialist solicitors are able to act on behalf of an individual who is being deprived of their liberty or on behalf of friends or family members. If authorisation has been granted to deprive someone of their liberty and they or you disagree with it, it is possible to appeal the authorisation by making an application to the Court of Protection. You may have been informed that you have been named as a relevant persons representative (RPR) – if this is the case it is your responsibility to challenge the authorisation and non-means tested legal aid is available in these cases.

You may be worried that the deprivation of liberty is not what is best for the person, or yourself, we can provide you with advice about this and assist you with challenging the authorisation.

The Court of Protection can overturn or vary an existing urgent or standard authorisation, or can consider whether it is appropriate to authorise a deprivation of liberty in the first place. Our specialist team can provide advice and representation throughout this process.

Any authorisation must be subject to regular review and we are also able to offer advice, guidance and representation throughout the review process.

What are the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards and what do they do?

The deprivation of liberty safeguards are contained in the Mental Capacity Act 2005. The purpose is to safeguard people being deprived of their liberty as a result of their care package. For example, those In care home settings with locked doors, subject to continuous supervision from care staff in order to keep them safe. This kind of care could result in a deprivation of a person’s liberty and this must be authorised using the deprivation of liberty safeguards process to ensure that there is no breach of their rights (Article 5 right to liberty).

If people are deprived of their liberty due to the extent of their care package, but are residing at home or in sheltered or supported living arrangements a different process must be followed; an application is required to the Court of Protection to authorise the restrictions.

Deprivation of liberty is an ever changing and complex area of law and it is important that specialist legal advice is sought. We are a national firm offering services across the UK and are able to offer competitive fee structures or consider legal aid funding (subject to eligibility). For further information, please contact us on 01616 966 229 or complete our online enquiry form and a member of our specialist team will contact you directly.

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