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. For example, a person may live at home with a social care package in place, and only be able to go out when supervised by family members / friends / carers to keep them safe, due to their vulnerabilities.
In these circumstances, it is important that an application is made to the Court of Protection to seek authorisation for the deprivation of liberty – if authorisation is not obtained, the Local Authority may be unlawfully depriving a family member or friend of their liberty by reason of their care arrangements, and therefore breaching their human rights. In other words, formal authorisation is required for the protection of the vulnerable person.
Where the person being deprived of their liberty is in a hospital or care home, the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) apply. The DoLS process consists of a number of assessments by professionals resulting in a authorisation of the arrangements for a specified period of time.
How can Stephensons help?
We are able to act on behalf of the individual concerned or on behalf of family members. If authorisation has been granted to deprive a family member or loved one of their liberty and they or you disagree with it, you are able 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. The court can overturn or vary an urgent or standard authorisation and our specialist team can provide advice and representation through this process.
Any authorisation must also be subject to regular review and we are also able to offer advice, guidance and representation through the review process.
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 legal aid funding for the case subject to eligibility. For further information, please contact us on 0175 321 6399 or complete our online enquiry form.