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Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLs)

The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) is part of the legal framework set out in the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

The Mental Capacity Act ensures that individual human rights are upheld.

Who it protects

The safeguards support and protect people who are unable to make decisions for themselves or consent to their care.

They aim to protect the human rights of people over the age of 18 where there is doubt about their mental capacity to make informed decisions about their care and treatment when they are hospital patients, or residents in a care home. They ensure that people are only deprived of their liberty where it is in their best interest and there is no other way to keep them safe.

Supreme Court Judgement 2014

In March 2014 the Supreme Court handed down a judgment in the case of  P v Cheshire West and Chester Council and also P and Q v Surrey County Council.

The judgment has widened and clarified the definition of deprivation of liberty when deciding what constitutes of a deprivation of liberty.

All deprivation must be authorised in accordance with the appropriate legal regimes whether a Deprivation of Liberty authorisation, Court of Protection order, or under the Mental Health Act 1983 and rare situations under the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court.

The full judgment can be found on the Supreme Court’s website. (External link)

Our role in monitoring Safeguards

In Wales we monitor DoLS arrangements in care homes on behalf of Welsh Ministers.

What care providers need to do

Following the Supreme Court judgment you should work closely with your local authority and/or Local Health Board to make sure that the people you are supporting are not being deprived of their liberty. You should work with them to reduce and eliminate unnecessary restrictions.

The registered person of adult care homes need to notify us under The Regulated Services (Service Providers and Responsible Individuals) (Wales) Regulations 2017 (External link), of each DoLS application made whether this is agreed or not by submitting a notification to us online. 

How we will use the information

We will use the information you provide to monitor DoLS arrangements in care homes across Wales. The operation of DoLS procedures and practices  will also be monitored by limited case tracking and of DoLS applications and safeguarding arrangements during routine inspection visits.


It is your legal responsibility to tell us about events that take place in your service. You must notify us of any Deprivation of Liberty requests and/or authorisations using CIW Online.