The Supreme Court handed down the long awaited judgment this week in relation P v Cheshire West and Chester Council (& Ors) and P and Q v Surrey County Council (referred to in the judgment as MIG and MEG). The Lords agreed that P was deprived of his liberty and by a four to three majority decided that MIG and MEG were also deprived of their liberty.

This decision marks a fundamental shift in determining whether there is a deprivation of liberty. There are likely to be thousands of people who were not considered to be deprived of their liberty before Wednesday who will be today in light of this judgment.

Local Authorities and health bodies alike will now have to re-consider their case load and determine whether they are commissioning a care package which amounts to a deprivation of liberty and if so make the necessary referral for an DOLS assessment. If the service user is not in a care home or hospital an application to the Court of Protection may be required. Failure to do so may result in a claim being made for unlawful detention.

This remains a complex area of law. We have produced a briefing on the Supreme Court’s decision which you can read: Supreme Court hands down decision on the joint appeals of Cheshire West and P&Q.