What is DoLS

The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) are included in the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and came into force on 1 April 2009.

Who is DoLS for

The safeguards are designed to protect the interests of vulnerable people and to:

•    ensure they can be given the care they need in the least restrictive regimes
•    prevent arbitrary decisions that deprive people of their liberty
•    provide safeguards for people
•    provide them with rights of challenge against unlawful detention
•    avoid unnecessary bureaucracy


The Mental Capacity Act
DOL Safeguards apply to anyone:

•    aged 18 and over
•    who has a mental disorder, such as dementia or a significant learning disability
•    who lacks the capacity to give informed consent to the arrangements made for their care and/or treatment


•    for whom deprivation of liberty (within the meaning of Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights) is considered, after independent assessment, to be necessary in their best interests and to protect them from harm.

The safeguards cover patients in hospitals, and people in care homes registered under the Care Standards Act 2000, whether placed under public or private arrangements.

Role of the IMCA DoLS

The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) give additional rights and responsibilities to an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA), other than those assigned to them by the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

Within DoLS, IMCAs can be instructed on three occasions:

•    as soon as a request is made by the managing authority, if the relevant person has no appropriate family member or a friend

•    once the authorisation has been granted, if the relevant person does not have a paid representative, they or their representative can request an IMCA

•    if there is a gap between one paid representative leaving and the appointment of another one.

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