Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) concern people in hospitals and care homes who may need to be deprived of their liberty (or freedom) in order to protect them from serious harm.

DoLS do not apply if a person is detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act 1983. However, they do apply if a person is subject to Section 7 of the Mental Health Act (Guardianship).  A person must lack mental capacity to make decisions about their care and treatment for an application for DoLS to be considered.

The scope of this legal safeguard was widened in early 2014, by a Supreme Court judgement (Cheshire West), broadening the criteria for applications and assessments. This judgement stated that there are two key questions that have to be asked when considering if someone is deprived of their liberty.

  • Is the person subject to continuous supervision and control?
  • Is the person free to leave?

Roles under DoLS - The managing authority

Under DoLS, registered care homes and hospitals are called ‘managing authorities’. Care homes and hospitals have responsibility for preventing unnecessary deprivations of liberty. They must also recognise if a person is deprived of their liberty or if a deprivation of liberty is likely to happen.

Like other health and care providers, care homes also have a responsibility to promote the independence of each person in their care and to support them in their choices.

Care homes will need to provide additional support to residents who lack the mental capacity to make a decision for themselves. Care homes and hospitals are responsible for granting themselves an ‘urgent authorisation’ and applying to the relevant local authority or primary care trust for a ‘standard authorisation’, using the standard forms available below.


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Document Type Size
DoLS - Guidance to the formspdf470.2 KB
DoLS Forms flowchartpdf580.2 KB
Form 1 - Standard and Urgent Requestdocx115.0 KB
Form 2 - Further Authorisation Requestdocx94.1 KB
Form 10 - Review Requestdocx95.8 KB
Form 12 - Notification to Coronerdocx89.2 KB