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The Mental Capacity Act Deprivation of Liberty safeguards

The Mental Capacity Act Deprivation of Liberty safeguards (formerly known as the Bournewood safeguards) were introduced into the Mental Capacity Act 2005 through the Mental Health Act 2007 (which received Royal Assent in July 2007).

The MCA DOL safeguards apply to anyone:
- aged 18 and over
- who suffers from a mental disorder or disability of the mind – such as dementia or a profound learning disability
- who lacks the capacity to give informed consent to the arrangements made for their care and / or treatment and
- for whom deprivation of liberty (within the meaning of Article 5 of the ECHR) is considered after an independent assessment to be necessary in their best interests to protect them from harm.

The safeguards cover patients in hospitals, and people in care homes registered under the Care Standards Act 2000, whether placed under public or private arrangements

The aim is to implement the safeguards in April 2009. The safeguards are designed to protect the interests of an extremely vulnerable group of service users and to:
- ensure people can be given the care they need in the least restrictive regimes
- prevent arbitrary decisions that deprive vulnerable people of their liberty
- provide safeguards for vulnerable people
- provide them with rights of challenge against unlawful detention
- avoid unnecessary bureaucracy

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