Venue: Senate House, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HU
This conference brings experts together to consider the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) and how they may be reformed. Participants will consider the problems that confront health and social care practitioners and those living in care arrangements as a result of the current legal framework.
Drawing on the experience of other jurisdictions and a wide range of expertise, the conference will provide a space for evaluating alternative frameworks for DoLS. In this way, we aim to assist the process of legislative reform in England and Wales and to enhance collaboration in the improvement of care practice in light of cross-disciplinary, comparative and international perspectives.
The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards were introduced in England and Wales in 2007 and came into force in 2009 to bridge the so-called “Bournewood gap” identified by the European Court of Human Rights in the case of HL v UK  ECHR 471. This decision found that the lack of legal safeguards for incapacitated adults deprived of their liberty in hospitals and care homes was a breach of Art.5 of the ECHR.
In March 2014 the Supreme Court’s decision in Cheshire West  UKSC 19 clarified the legal test for deprivation of liberty in this context. An incapacitated person, whose care arrangements are the state’s responsibility, is to be considered objectively deprived of her liberty if she is subject to continuous supervision and control and is not free to leave. This is the case irrespective of the person’s compliance or lack of objection and of the relative normality of the placement or the reason behind a particular placement.
This decision has had a number of significant consequences for those living in care arrangements – including people with learning disabilities and people with dementia - and their carers. They include:
DoLS have constantly been criticised for being overly complex and excessively bureaucratic. In 2014, a House of Lords Select Committee conducting a post-legislative scrutiny [pdf] of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 found that DoLS are not “fit for purpose” and called for them to be replaced. In April 2015 the Law Society, commissioned by the Department of Health, issued new practical guidance on DoLS including a range of case studies on care homes, hospitals, supported living, and care for under 18s. The Law Commission has been asked to review the law relating to deprivation of liberty, and the provisions of Schedule A1. A consultation paper will be issued in the summer of 2015, with a report and draft legislation due in the summer of 2017.
The conference has been organised by Alex Ruck Keene, Catherine Penny, Daniel Wang, Richard Ashcroft and Ruth Fletcher. They intend to publish papers developed from the conference as a special issue of the International Journal of Mental Health and Capacity Law in 2016.
CPD points will be available for attendees. This event is free to attend, but prior registration is required. To register, please visit the School of Law Eventbrite page by 28 September 2015.
For further information please contact Daniel Wei L Wang (email@example.com)
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