The number of deprivation of liberty cases handled by the Court of Protection more than doubled last year, official figures reveal.
The court received 3,143 deprivation of liberty applications in 2016, up from 1,493 the previous year and almost 29 times the 109 applications received in 2013.
The rises seen in the past two years is due to the Supreme Court’s landmark Cheshire West ruling in March 2014. The ruling effectively lowered the threshold for what constitutes deprivation of liberty in care, meaning more care placements required deprivation of liberty authorisation.
Placements in care homes and hospitals are authorised by local authorities via the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards. But care in community settings, including supported living, must be authorised by the Court of Protection.
Half of the deprivation of liberty applications made to the court in 2016 used a streamlined process introduced in November 2014. The ‘Re X’ process allowed uncontentious applications to processed without an oral hearing and was introduced in a bid to help the court handle an anticipated flood of cases in the wake of the Cheshire West judgment.
Following the ruling, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Service (ADASS) predicted around 30,000 court applications a year would be needed to comply with the Supreme Court ruling. The Ministry of Justice figures show applications have increased since Cheshire West but are still well short of the ADASS prediction.