The deadline for the Law Commission’s final proposals for a legal framework to replace the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) has been brought forward.
The government’s announcement came after Labour MP Ann Cofey contacted ministers calling for an urgent review of DoLS, arguing the system is not fit for purpose. Originally the Law Commission was required to publish draft legislation and detailed proposals for a new DoLS scheme by summer 2017. However, this timetable has now been brought forward and we should now expect to see the Law Commission’s proposals by the end of 2016. An initial set of draft proposals are expected to be published for consultation on 7 July 2015 and the consultation will run for 4 months.
Following the announcement, Ms Cofey said “I welcome the minister’s decision to bring the Law Commission inquiry into DoLS forward. This is an urgent problem. I am also extremely pleased that he will be writing to the chief coroner to stress the importance of minimising distress to relatives.” She added “I hope the chief coroner will agree to review his guidance on ‘state detention’ and the need for automatic inquests. If he would make it clear that local coroners have got discretion then we would see a more proportionate response and relieve some of the stress on grieving relatives.”
Ray James, the president of ADASS, also welcomed the announcement stating “[The minister] is absolutely right to stress that DoLS are not about paperwork or red tape, but about people and the protection of their liberty. It is imperative that government now fully funds the additional financial burden placed on councils who are dealing with a tenfold increase in applications.”