News Policy, Guidance & Law Safeguarding

Latest deprivation of liberty ruling

Community Care has released another article concerning a Deprivation of Liberty judgement. The case concerned a teenage boy, known as D, with multiple disabilities who was being cared for in a secure hospital setting and was subsequently moved to a residential placement. Read the story here: “Latest deprivation of liberty ruling has ‘huge implications’ for children’s social workers”.

The judgement in this case can be read in full here 

What is a deprivation of liberty?

Article 5 of the Human Rights Act states that ‘everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be deprived of his or her liberty [unless] in accordance with a procedure prescribed in law’. The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards is the procedure prescribed in law when it is necessary to deprive of their liberty a resident or patient who lacks capacity to consent to their care and treatment in order to keep them safe from harm.

Source: SCIE (2015)

The ‘Acid Test’

A Supreme Court judgement in March 2014 made reference to the ‘acid test’ to see whether a person is being deprived of their liberty. The acid test states that an individual is deprived of their liberty for the purposes of Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights if they:

  • Lack the capacity to consent to their care/ treatment arrangements
  • Are under continuous supervision and control
  • Are not free to leave.

Copy of Deprivation of Liberty

Some relevant publications

Department of Health (2015) Guidance: Response to the Supreme Court Judgment/ Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards

Family Law (2015) AB (A Child: Deprivation of Liberty) [2015] EWHC 3125 (Fam)

suespiciousminds (2015) I know it when I see it

The Law Society (2015) Identifying a deprivation of liberty: a practical guide Under 18

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