Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS)

Protections for people who need to be deprived of their liberty to protect them from harm.

We are currently experiencing some delays with our DoLS Team which we hope to resolve very soon. You can continue to contact the DoLS Team at  or if you have any concerns or need urgent advice and support, please contact Adult Social Care on Freephone 0800 145 6095. The line is open  8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. We will provide an update shortly and thank you for your patience and understanding.

At times, some adults over the age of 18 years will need to be deprived of their liberty in their best interests, to protect them from harm.

Hammersmith & Fulham Council is the supervisory body for all people who may be deprived of their liberty in a hospital or care home, lack capacity to consent to this and who live in Hammersmith & Fulham.

When is someone deprived of their liberty?

Some adults, who are in hospitals, care homes and certain other types of accommodation, can't make their own decisions about their:

  • living arrangements
  • treatment
  • care.

This is because they lack the mental capacity to do so. For example, someone with:

  • a severe brain injury
  • dementia
  • a learning disability.

These people need more care and protection to ensure their wellbeing and that they do not suffer any harm. To provide them with care and treatment this may mean restricting what they can or cannot do. This is called deprivation of liberty.

A person is likely to be deprived of their liberty if they:

  • don’t have the capacity to decide on their living and care arrangements
  • are under continuous supervision and control
  • are not free to leave the hospital, care home or other accommodation, because harm will occur.

An example would be stopping a person leaving a care home because they are very likely to have a serious accident.

It is illegal to deprive someone of their liberty in a care home or hospital without a DoLS.

What is a deprivation of liberty safeguard (DoLS)?

The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards can only be used if the person will be deprived of their liberty in a care home or hospital. In other settings the Court of Protection can authorise a deprivation of liberty.

If a care home, or other setting, needs to deprive someone of their liberty, they must apply to our DoLS supervisory body to authorise this deprivation as in the person's best interests.

How to apply for a DoLS

All referrals and enquiries should be made to London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards Team.

You can call us on 020 8753 3211 or email at

A revised full set of the DOLS forms are available on GOV.UK. Please note - ONLY digital applications will be accepted and must be sent securely.

What to do if you think someone is being deprived of their liberty without authorisation

Contact the care home or hospital

If you believe someone is being deprived of their liberty without authorisation, or you want an existing authorisation reviewed, you can discuss it with the care home or hospital manager. They can make the authorisation or DoLS review request.

Contact us on 020 8753 3211 or email at

Reviewing a DoLS

A DoLS can be reviewed at any point to see if a person still meets the requirements, or if any conditions need to be changed. The DoLS office will carry out reviews if it is necessary, or if it is requested by:

  • the person being deprived of their liberty
  • the person’s representative, hospital or care home.

An independent mental capacity advocate (IMCA) may be appointed if someone needs an advocate to support them during the DoLS assessments or authorisation.

Your rights

Every person subject to a DoLS must have a representative. This can be a:

  • family member
  • friend
  • paid representative.

The DoLS office will appoint the representative when the DoLS is authorised.

If you or your representative think you shouldn’t be deprived of your liberty, you can challenge it by:

  • asking for a review of the authorisation
  • appealing to the Court of Protection.

For more information

How to apply to the Court of Protection to challenge an order restricting someone's freedom or get a deprivation of liberty authorised (GOV.UK)

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