DOLS – Part 2


Once the Supreme Court made the judgement in respect of the Cheshire West case and its implications sank in, there were a number of other cases following that considered the idea of the universality of the deprivation of liberty for people not wanting or trying to leave where they were being cared for.


The Cheshire West case did not change the procedure, that any authorisation of a deprivation of liberty should be authorised by either the Local Authority or the Court of Protection, depending on where they are being housed at that time.


The key message of Cheshire West, was whether that person was under “continuous supervision and control”!  The issue for people working in this area, is that this description covers lots of people in care environments and therefore implies there should be lots more authorisations.


The next case in a series that considered this issue is Bournemouth Borough Council as decided by the Court of Protection.


The details of the case are:

Ben 28, Autistic spectrum and learning disabled.  Lived in a 2 bedroomed bungalow & assisted by staff 24hrs.  Was under constant observation and monitoring.  Assisted with all aspects of personal care, he had difficulty with tasks, as he would decline them, and would stay in bed until noon if left.  Had unsupervised access to all parts of the house, except the kitchen when staff were cooking.  Although he had never tried to leave without staff, there were sensors which would alert staff if Ben tried to leave, at which time, staff would attempt to engage him and monitor him.  If he refused to return they had an escalation plan that ultimately culminated in ringing the police.  His wishes fluctuated between returning to hospital, as everything was done for him or to live with his mother, with whom he had supervised contact once a month.


The Court decided that he was afforded “appreciable privacy” & could leave the home, although attempts would be made to bring him back and there was a multi stage process for if that ever happened, although he had never tried to leave.


It is arguable that he was under fairly “continuous control and supervision” and yet the Court decided that he was not deprived of his liberty and in which case, no authorisation is required.