Britney Spears has had her attempt to have her father removed as conservator of her estate rejected by a US court.
Jamie Spears has been the legal guardian of Ms Spears for 12 years, after concerns were raised over her mental health.
The Los Angeles superior court judge declined to suspend Mr Spears from his central role, but the judge said she would consider future petitions for his suspension or outright removal.
Britney Spears has been on a work hiatus since 2019, and her attorney, Samuel D Ingham III, said that she will not perform again if her father is still in charge of her career.
What does the ruling mean?
The judge’s ruling means there will be no change to the current conservatorship agreement.
James Spears’ attorney, Vivian Lee Thoreen, defended her client's “perfect” record while acting as his daughter's conservator. Thoreen argued that the disruption caused by his removal would cause the pop star the very harm the suspension is meant to prevent.
Samel D Ingham III said that he was told that his client “is afraid of her father.” He also said that she is a “high-functioning conservatee,” and that Ms Spears has not spoken with her father for a very long time.
What is conservatorship?
Conservatorship is a legal concept in America, wherein a guardian or protector is appointed to someone if a court finds that they cannot manage their own affairs.
The role of the conservator can vary, but usually they will take control of handling the conservatee's estate and finances, as well as possibly being responsible for their career negotiations and living arrangements.
Why did James Spears become a conservator?
In the late 2000’s Britney Spears underwent a very public breakdown. Many will remember the infamous head shaving incident, as well as hitting a photographer's car with an umbrella, and driving her car with her son on her lap.
After being committed to a psychiatric ward for the second time in 2008, her father petitioned the LA County Superior Court for an emergency ‘temporary conservatorship.’
Her father has since been overseeing her estate and physical wellbeing. LA attorney Andrew Wallet was bought in as a co-conservator to help manage the singer's financial assets.
Ms Spears has acknowledged that the conservatorship was necessary when it began, and probably saved her career.
The #FreeBritney movement
Beginning in 2009, as a response to the singers conservatorship, fans started the #FreeBritney movement, fearing that the signer was being controlled and manipulated.
Fans of the pop star believe she has also been sending indirect messages through her social media pages.
In August, the singer started to publicly choose who had power over her, and asked for greater transparency in the court’s moves over her conservatorship. She expressed sympathy for her fans, who had grown in numbers.
Dozens of the fans have protested outside the Los Angeles courthouse for every hearing, and, during the pandemic, worn #FreeBritney face masks.