Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards

Our specialist Mental Health & Mental Capacity team provides advice to individuals, their families and care providers about Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLS) issues. We recognise that the loss or proposed loss of liberty can be extremely upsetting, both for the individual and their loved ones, particularly where the individual concerned has limited understanding of the process and the underlying causes. In such cases, emotions can run high. Our expert team are experienced in handling these matters and will combine their technical expertise in the law around DOLS with a sympathetic approach to help you achieve the best possible outcome.

The DOLS process is a series of assessments that are designed to confirm that an individual meets the criteria to be kept in care, even if they don’t want to be. This is typically used when a person has an illness, such as dementia, that makes it difficult or impossible for them to take care of themselves. You can learn more about it here. Everyone has the right to have their deprivation of liberty scrutinised to ensure that it is reasonable, proportionate and only as restrictive as it needs to be.

Our expert team can advise on all matters relating to DOLS including:

  • Reviewing the information and preparing an appeal to the Court of Protection to review the authorisation as soon as possible.
  • Advising on the availability of public funding/legal aid, which is normally available when someone is deprived of their liberty.
  • Exploring options to make the deprivation less restrictive.
  • Ensuring that provisions are made to enhance the person’s quality of life.
  • Advising on what factors a judge may take into account when considering any appeal.
  • Community DOLS, where a person is deprived of liberty within the community rather than in a care or nursing home.

What are DOLS for?

Under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 a Local Authority can issue an authorisation that means that an individual can be kept at a care home or a hospital against their will. The individual or a member of their family can appeal to the Court of Protection against the authorisation if they feel it is inappropriate and not in the person’s best interests. Read more about DOLS here.

DOLS concerns for nursing homes and care providers

Our team will provide expert advice to nursing homes and private care providers about their legal position, responsibilities and obligations when they are taking care of patients who may be being deprived of their liberty. We can help you to ensure that in providing and enforcing restrictions you are acting within the law, helping you to preserve both your reputation and your business.


Rebecca Moore


Daniel Doswell

Family Executive

News & Events

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Call us on 0800 328 3282, or complete the form below and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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