Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards

What is deprivation of liberty?

Liberty means being free to do the things you want to do and live where you want to live.

Deprivation of liberty means taking someone's freedom away.

A recent Supreme Court judgement decided that someone is deprived of their liberty if they are both 'under continuous supervision and control and not free to leave'.

When can someone be deprived of their liberty?

Someone else may think that they need to take your freedom away to give you the care or treatment you need. If you are able to make an informed choice about this, it is your right to say no. The only time when your informed choice might be over-ridden is if you need to be detained under the Mental Health Act.

Deprivation of liberty could take place anywhere - in a care home or hospital, but also in your own home.

If you are not able to make an informed choice, the law says that whoever is looking after you cannot take your freedom away without independent checks that this is the best thing for you.  This law is set out in the Mental Heath Act and the Mental Capacity Act.

While it is avoided wherever possible, sometimes there is no alternative but to deprive a person of their liberty because it is in their best interests.