A reminder: don’t delay processing your deprivation of liberty authorisations

A recent case highlights the financial consequences of a local authority failing to process a deprivation of liberty authorisation (DoL) in a timely manner. The case was highlighted by the Mental Health Law Online website as it does not appear on Bailii.

The decision in London Borough of Haringey v Emile is an important reminder to those responsible for arranging care or approving DoLS applications in respect of a care home, nursing home or indeed in an individual’s home of the fact that failure to comply with the Mental Capacity Act carries with it a real cost penalty of failing to authorise a detention.

In summary, the proceedings started when the local authority sought payment of in excess of £80,000 of unpaid care fees – and were successful, but they were then also ordered to pay damages of £130,000 (uplifted by 10 per cent to £143,000) for seven years and 10 months of unlawful deprivation of liberty plus costs. This worked out at approximately £1,500 per month. The local authority appealed for several reasons, including  that the court was wrong to find this was not a “nominal damages” case and the damages award was excessive and that the defendant had been happy living at the care home but they were unsuccessful.

If you would like to discuss the issues raised here or require support with your DoLS matters, do get in touch: we have a friendly and experienced Court of Protection team.

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