Britney Spears to address controversial conservatorship in rare court appearance
Breaking years of silence, Britney Spears has asked to personally address the court that will decide the future of her controversial conservatorship.
Judges agreed to a request lodged by lawyers of the pop icon on Tuesday (27 April) that she be allowed to speak at a June hearing.
“The conservatee has requested that I seek from the court a status hearing at which she can address the court directly,” Samuel Ingham, Spears’ court-appointed lawyer, told the probate court.
He asked Los Angeles Superior Court judge Brenda Penny that a hearing be pencilled in on an “expedited basis”.
She complied, scheduling the hearing for 23 June with an additional hearing for July.
Ingham did not specify what matters the 39-year-old wishes to speak about, The Guardian reported. But it will relate to the “status of the conservatorship”.
Nevertheless, the request signals one of the biggest shifts in Spears’ typically restrained approach to her 13-year-long conservatorship and the first time she will speak in court since she sought substantial changes to the legal arrangement last year.
While judges struck down her bid to block her father, Jamie Spears, from being in charge of her career and assets, she has since mounted a case to get back control of her personal life.
The seismic request was made during a relatively ordinary virtual court hearing, with attorneys mainly taking care of housekeeping. Providing updates on a number of motions and accounting issues that will be discussed at a 14 July hearing.
Britney Spears was placed in the conservatorship in 2008 following a mental health crisis.
Since being placed in her court-approved conservatorship, which sees her estate, wellbeing, among other things, controlled by court-appointed managers, Spears has rarely discussed it.
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For years, fans’ only contact with the “Toxic” hitmaker has been through her Instagram. Each solitary dance number, declarations that she has burned down her home gym or photograph of a red refrigerator has fuelled countless conspiracy theories about her wellbeing.
A dedicated wing of her fans has even formed the Free Britney movement, picketing outside the courts calling for her freedom, while the Framing Britney Spears documentary sought to shine a light on the arrangement.
Critics of Britney Spears’ conservatorship point out that the complex arrangement is typically reserved only for the very elderly, infirm or disabled.
“Many people get into conservatorships not realising that the court – not the family, the conservator, or the person under conservatorship – is in charge,” Zoe Brennan-Krohn, a staff attorney at the ACLU Disability Rights Project, told HuffPost.
“Conservatorships are much easier to get into than to get out of.”