Disability Rights UK has raised concerns over the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill, which enters the committee stage at the House of Lords today.

The charity has raised concerns over the Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) scheme, which will replace the Deprivation of Liberty scheme (DoL) if the bill is passed. DoLs authorises authorities to deprive those who “lack mental capacity” of liberty, which the charity says will affect the fundamental human rights of hundreds of thousands of people who have conditions like dementia, learning disabilities or brain injuries.

DRUK have noted that the bill uses offensive language like “unsoundness of mind,” and does not provide non-means tested legal aid to those who may require it. They also note that it does not include provisions for the person involved in court proceedings to participate in matters that involve their liberty, but instead places more power on care home managers to make decisions regarding depriving liberty.

The amendment also refuses to take the feelings of the person whose liberty is at stake into account, moving the UK further away from the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, the 2007 treaty which is intended to protect the rights and dignity of disabled people and ensure they receive equality under the law.

Sue Bott, deputy CEO of DRUK, said: “I am concerned with the contents of this Bill which takes the rights of disabled people backwards.

“There is nothing more serious for an individual than a decision to deprive them of their liberty yet, as it stands, this Bill will make challenging such decisions difficult and costly with little independent oversight and no commitment to taking the views of the individual into account.

“I hope members of the House of Lords will, through amendments, be able to radically improve the Bill.”

Read more of DRUK’s concerns here.

Image: Flickr/UK Parliament

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