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Law Society concern at impact of move to Liberty Protection Safeguards on vulnerable people

The proposals to replace the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) with the Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) will – "without substantial changes" – result in weakened safeguards for vulnerable people, the Law Society has claimed.

Chancery Lane’s comments came in its response to a government consultation on changes to the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) 2005 code of practice and implementation of the LPS.

The aim of LPS is to provide protection for people aged 16 and above who are, or who need to be:

  • deprived of their liberty in order to enable their care or treatment, and
  • lack the mental capacity to consent to their arrangements

The Law Society said: “We support the government’s commitment to addressing the current backlog in reviewing and authorising DoLS, which has led to people facing breaches of their human rights.

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“However, without substantial changes we believe the proposals to replace DoLS with LPS will result in weakened safeguards for vulnerable people.

“In particular, the code must uphold the rule of law by ensuring the scenarios used to explain how a DoL is defined are legally correct.”

Chancery Lane said that if the Government wishes to change the definition of how a DoL is defined, this should be attempted through legislation “with an opportunity for robust scrutiny of the proposed changes”.

It added: “The code must also recognise the impossibility of providing genuine advance consent to a DoL. It must also ensure access to justice by not limiting people’s rights to challenge care and treatment decisions.”

The Department of Health and Social Care and Ministry of Justice consultation closed on 14 July 2022.

The Law Society’s response can be downloaded here.

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