Mark Whitehead 02 April 2019

Protections for people who lack mental capacity must be 'robust', MPs say

A new definition of what constitutes 'liberty' will be included in the Mental Capacity Act to help protect vulnerable people, the Government has announced.

It follows the introduction of a new law last year aimed at simplifying Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLs).

Harriet Harman, chair of the parliamentary human rights committee said protections for people who lack mental capacity must be 'robust and proportionate'.

In a statement the Government said it was attempting to introduce a definition of deprivation of liberty into the Bill, as the committee had recommended.

But following disagreement between the House of Commons and the Lords, the Government now proposed to remove the definition from the Bill and include it in codes of practice under the Mental Capacity Act.

Ms Harman said: 'The protections for people who lack mental capacity must be both robust and proportionate: we need to ensure that people’s right not to be arbitrarily deprived of their liberty is fully protected.

'But any system must not be excessively bureaucratic not least because resources must not be diverted from vital care into unnecessary bureaucracy.

'We welcome where the Government has listened to the Committee and proposed some changes to the Bill.'

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