Issue details

Deprivation of Liberty – Prioritisation of Applications to the Court of Protection

This report gives an overview of the position regarding the legal requirements placed on the Council regarding applications to the Court of Protection (COP) in relation to people who may be deprived of their liberty in community settings.


It outlines the pressures on social work and legal resources since the Supreme Court ruling of March 2014 (known as the Cheshire West ruling) which dramatically increased the number of people who come within the remit of Deprivation of Liberty legislation, and the potential risks of not complying fully with the law.


Deprivation of Liberty for those over the age of 16 years in a community settings can only be authorised via an application to the COP. (For people over 18 years in a hospital or care home there is a separate procedure under the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLS) which is not the covered in this report). 


The resource implications on the Council as a result of this ruling are significant and ongoing. Whilst new legislation which could reduce the impact of COP work (as well as DOLS) has been proposed, this is unlikely to be implemented in the foreseeable future. 


This report recommends Cabinet to agree to adopt a pragmatic approach to ensure that the most pressing cases are identified and progressed through to the Court as priority.  This will ensure that citizens who most need the protective legal framework are dealt with first. Although this means applications for those of lower priority will be delayed, it is considered that it is reasonable to believe that their care has been arranged by social care staff with the best intentions to keep them safe and well. 


This is deemed to be a Key Decision and the provisions of Standing Order No. 25 have been complied with.

Decision type: Key

Reason Key: Significant effect in 2 or more electoral divisions;

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Divisions affected: (All Divisions);

Notice of proposed decision first published: 16/05/2017

Anticipated restriction: Part I  -

Decision due: 10 Aug 2017 by Cabinet

Lead member: Cabinet Member for Adult Services, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing

Contact: Charlotte Hammond Email:, Cate Short Email: Tel: 07500884044.


Agenda items