The long and slow road to reform of the Deprivation of Liberty safeguards continues with the Government 's formal response to the Law Commission recommendations, which we summarised here when they appeared almost a year ago. In brief the Government agrees that the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards should be replaced as "a matter of pressing urgency" (also described as "in due course"). The Government has provisionally accepted the majority of the recommendations. It has indicated however that it is not minded to review mental capacity law in relation to children, though provisionally accepts that the new proposals should apply to those aged 16 and above. The Government has not specifically responded to the proposals which relate to the interface with the Mental Health Act 1983, noting that these are being considered as part of the MHA review (which is still accepting submissions before releasing its interim report). Of note, the Government has - at this stage- accepted the proposal that Section 4 MCA is amended to require a decision-maker to give "particular weight" to P's wishes ascertained.
Many will have contributed to the Joint Committee on Human Rights' enquiry into the new proposals. The Committee is considering:
- Whether the Law Commission’s proposals for Liberty Protection Safeguards strike the correct balance between adequate protection for human rights with the need for a scheme which is less bureaucratic and onerous than the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards
- Whether the Government should proceed to implement the proposals for Liberty Protection Safeguards as a matter of urgency
- Whether a definition of deprivation of liberty for care and treatment should be debated by Parliament and set out in statute
Submissions are still being accepted:
We have set out in detail our provisional view of each individual proposal in our response, and we broadly agree with the Liberty Protection Safeguards model.