Guidance updated on MCA and DoLS during the COVID-19 pandemic

On 10 June 2020, the Department of Health and Social Care updated its guidance, ‘The Mental Capacity Act (2005) (MCA) and deprivation of liberty safeguards (DoLS) during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic: additional guidance’. The guidance has been updated to include information about the right to appeal if someone is subject to emergency health powers and lacks the relevant mental capacity. It states that:

“The use of restrictions under the Coronavirus Act 2020 on potentially infectious individuals will rarely need to be applied in the case of individuals who lack the relevant mental capacity, as the MCA and, in some cases, the MHA provides the legal basis for making decisions in order to ensure that individuals can be tested for COVID-19 or to restrict the movement of individuals who have or are suspected to have the virus.

If restrictions or requirements under the Coronavirus Act 2020 are applied, an appeal may be brought to a magistrates’ court by any person on whom a requirement or restriction is imposed. If someone lacks the capacity to make an appeal, it can be made by someone or some authority on their behalf. This may, in some cases, be necessary even if the person is not objecting or does not appear to understand that they can make a challenge.”

For further information, a copy of the guidance can be accessed at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-looking-after-people-who-lack-mental-capacity/the-mental-capacity-act-2005-mca-and-deprivation-of-liberty-safeguards-dols-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic-additional-guidancea

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