Change in Inquest Law for DoLS PatientsPark Square Barristers
On 3rd April 2017 the Policing and Crime Act 2017 came into force. Whilst by no means one of its headline provisions, Section 178 amends the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 by excluding Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) authorisation from the definition of State Detention. This change will significantly affect the Coroner’s workload as prior to the change any death of a person who was subject to such authorisation (and there has been a significant increase in such authorisations particularly in hospitals and hospices) automatically required an inquest to be held. It is a welcome change as the inclusion of those under DoLS authorisation as being under “state detention” was not a realistic or helpful inclusion to forward the aims and safeguards of the 2009 Act.
The Chief Coroner has issued new Guidance on Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, Guidance 16A
Such Guidance sets out the effect of the legislation. It also addresses the implications of the Court of Appeal’s decision in Ferreira. The removal of the mandatory requirement for an inquest by no means leads to an inevitable conclusion that no inquest will be required;
“Of course, there may be a requirement for an investigation on other grounds (e.g. that death was unnatural, or indeed the person was in police custody). Furthermore, a person who dies while subject to restrictions amounting to “state detention” in a hospital or care home, but without there having been a deprivation of liberty authorised under the MCA 2005, will still have to be the subject of an investigation and inquest on “state detention” grounds.”
Park Square Barristers Inquests Team is a strong and growing team which prides itself as being at the forefront of developments in the law in this field. It provides advocates to represent all parties in inquests.