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Stop press! No news on the Law Commission deprivation of liberty reform proposals

31 October 2017

Yesterday, 30 October 2017, the Government made an interim statement in response to the detailed proposals for reform on the law on mental capacity and deprivation of liberty made by the Law Commission in March 2017.

In a very brief ministerial written statement the Government recognised the criticisms made of the current system and welcomed the Law Commission’s work on proposals for reform.

It also said that any reforms must improve quality of care, improve access to the safeguards, and be “cost effective”. The last point may be critical in light of the huge numbers for the cost of implementation set out in the Impact Assessment.

The Government says that a substantial response will be given in “Spring 2018”, though also says that any reform will be considered alongside promised revisions to the Mental Health Act, which is unlikely to make it happen any quicker (especially with this, like all legislative reform, competing for scarce resources and parliamentary time alongside the behemoth of Brexit). 

For now, however much reform may be needed, sensible advice remains that deprivation of liberty issues have to be tackled with the tools we have today and in the expectation that this will be the case for the foreseeable future.

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