In his 2015-2016 annual report, the Chief Coroner in England and Wales, His Honour Judge Peter Thornton QC pulled no punches in relation to DOLS. He reported a substantial increase in the caseload of all coroners "for no good purpose" as an "unanticipated and unwanted" consequence of the Supreme Court decision in Cheshire West. For the first time, the report reveals the number of inquests held for people who died while under a DOLS authorisation which was 7,183 in 2015. As a consequence, bereaved families have been caused considerable distress. The Chief Coroner has called for the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 to be amended so that those who die while subject to a DOLS authorisation should not be subject to a coroner's investigation unless there is a specific reason for referral to the coroner.
Readers may well be aware not just that this was an issue addressed in the Law Commission's Interim Statement on its Mental Capacity and Deprivation of Liberty project, but that Ann Coffey MP sought to move a probing amendment to this end to the Police and Crime Bill in the House of Commons. She did not press it, but the Minister for Policing, Mike Penning noted that it was "probing in exactly the right direction," and it may well be that this matter is revisited when the matter reaches the House of Lords.