On Detaining 300,000 People: the Liberty Protection Safeguards


  • Lucy Series




The Mental Capacity (Amendment) Act 2019 will introduce a new framework––the Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS)––for authorising arrangements giving rise to a deprivation of liberty to enable the care and treatment of people who lack capacity to consent to them in England and Wales. The LPS will replace the heavily criticised Mental Capacity Act 2005 deprivation of liberty safeguards (MCA DoLS).  The new scheme must provide detention safeguards on an unprecedented scale and across a much more diverse range of settings than traditional detention frameworks linked to mental disability. Accordingly, the LPS are highly flexible, and grant detaining authorities considerable discretion in how they perform this safeguarding function. This review outlines the background to the 2019 amendments to the MCA, and contrasts the LPS with the DoLS. It argues that although the DoLS were in need of reform, the new scheme also fails to deliver adequate detention safeguards, and fails to engage with the pivotal question: what are these safeguards for?Keywords: Mental Capacity (Amendment) Act 2019; Mental Capacity Act 2005; deprivation of liberty safeguards; liberty protection safeguards; article 5 European Convention on Human Rights; P v Cheshire West and Chester Council and another; P and Q v Surrey County Council [2014] UKSC 19; [2014] A.C. 896; [2014] H.R.L.R. 13






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