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Guide to the Court of Protection (CoP) and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) for the busy care home manager


Court of Protection

The Court of Protection (CoP) is a court that makes welfare and financial decisions in the best interests of people who cannot make the decisions at the time that they need to be made, because they lack mental capacity to do so.


Deprivation of liberty

Under UK law, everybody has the right to liberty. However, people can be lawfully deprived of their liberty in certain circumstances, when done in accordance with the law.
The legal test to establish whether someone is deprived of their liberty is whether they are under continuous supervision and control and are not free to leave. In practice, this is the case in many environments where people are receiving care and treatment, such as care homes and hospitals.

If someone lacks capacity to consent to such arrangements (known as ‘P’ in CoP proceedings), the arrangements will need to be authorised. If P is living in a care home, the relevant framework is the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS). Under the DoLS framework, the care home must ask the local authority if they can deprive P of their liberty. Assessments will then take place to determine whether the arrangements are in P’s best interests, before the deprivation of liberty is authorised by way of ‘standard authorisation’. If the care home needs to authorise the deprivation of liberty in the interim, an ‘urgent authorisation’ can be put in place.


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Neil Ward
T: +441214568202
M: +447918287141
E: neil.ward@mills-reeve.com


Holly Morrison-Carter
T: +441612348813
E: holly.morrison-carter@mills-reeve.com