Britney Spears: Conservatorship like this would be very rare in UK, says lawyer

24 June 2021, 15:39

By Tim Dodd

Mental Capacity Solicitor Gary Rycroft has told LBC that it would be 'much rarer' in the UK to have the equivalent of Britney Spears' conservatorship, which extends to decisions over her health.

It comes as Britney Spears has asked a judge to end the conservatorship which is doing her "way more harm than good" because she "deserves to have a life".

The court-ordered legal arrangement was set up in 2008 after the pop star suffered a series of mental breakdowns.

This has allowed Britney's father Jamie to control many elements of his daughter's life and career despite her efforts to oust him from the role.

Speaking to Shelagh Fogarty, Mr Rycroft said: "Here in the UK, people are encouraged to make their own choice while they have the capacity, about who they would like to support them with decision making if they lose capacity, and that's by making a 'lasting power of attorney'.

"If you don't get around to doing that, the court can appoint a deputy - a deputyship order - which is very similar to a conservatorship order in the US. You can have an order for property and finances, much rarer here is an order for health and welfare decisions, because the court here take the view that [these] matters should be assessed on a case by case basis."

Shelagh then said that whereas in the UK where the NHS or social services may consider the welfare of the person, it doesn't seem to be the case for Britney Spears. "Her father controls anyone who comes near her?" Shelagh pointed out.

Mr Rycroft responded: "Dare I say, it does seem a bit like the Wild West.

"Here it's enshrined in law that we should assume that everybody has capacity unless it's proved otherwise, and we should support people as far as possible to make their own decisions.

READ MORE: 'You could never be alone with her': Britney Spears' friend on her conservatorship

"It wouldn't be inconceivable for people to carry out normal functions, even singing in a concert, but not actually deemed to have capacity to look after their finances. Because here in the UK, capacity is time and decision-specific, that means it depends on the nature of the decision."

Shelagh then asked Mr Rycroft what he would do if Britney Spears came to him to ask what she needed to argue to get out of her conservatorship.

"I would say what we need to be doing is show that you have the capacity to make your own decisions," he said.

"In order to show that someone has the capacity to make a decision about any given thing at any given time, they've got to show that they understand, they can retain the information, they can weigh up the decision, and they can communicate it."

On Wednesday, the singer made an eagerly anticipated virtual appearance at a court in Los Angeles, where she told judge Brenda Penny she wants to end the arrangement without the need for a further medical assessment.

Following her testimony, Judge Penny praised the singer for speaking out, saying: "I certainly am sensitive to everything you said and how you're feeling and I know it took a lot of courage for you to say what you had to say."

More Shelagh Fogarty News

See more More Shelagh Fogarty News

Exclusive
Dr Konstancja Duff was strip-searched by the Met Police.

'Humiliated' lecturer tells LBC Met Police are 'pathetic' for 'degrading' strip-search

'I just think Boris Johnson should go': Yvette Cooper slams PM in scathing attack

'I just think Boris Johnson should go': Yvette Cooper slams PM in scathing attack

No10 officers feared 'snooping' accusations if they acted on partygate, ex-top cop says

No10 officers feared 'snooping' accusations if they acted on partygate, ex-top cop says

'They're all murderers': Caller's shocking Islamophobia experience

'They're all murderers': Caller's shocking Islamophobia experience

Headteacher tells LBC of more than £67,000 increase in her school's energy bills

Headteacher tells LBC of more than £67,000 increase in her school's energy bills

Governance 'undermined' by No10 'survival' culture, Shad. Chief Treasury Sec tells Shelagh Fogarty

Governance 'undermined' by No10 'survival' culture, Shad Chief Treasury Sec tells Shelagh Fogarty

Shelagh Fogarty's devastating takedown of Boris Johnson partygate denial

Shelagh Fogarty's devastating takedown of Boris Johnson partygate denial

'Morally inept' NDA practice in uni sex cases must be scrapped, Minister insists

'Morally inept' uni sex case NDAs must be scrapped, Minister demands

Partygate scandal: 'I will never vote Conservative again,' caller says

Partygate scandal: 'I will never vote Conservative again,' passionate caller says

Ex-Met standards boss defends lack of No10 party investigations

Ex-Met standards boss defends lack of No10 party investigation

Tory MP Sir Roger Gale tells LBC party has to replace Boris Johnson as leader

Tory MP Sir Roger Gale tells LBC Boris Johnson has to be replaced as leader

Shelagh Fogarty's passionate clash with caller defending No10 party

Shelagh Fogarty's passionate clash with caller defending Number 10 party

Pavan Sagoo passed away in the same month Downing Street held a party for staff.

Mum who lost daughter, 14, during May 2020 lockdown too devastated to say the PM's name

Cladding crisis: Caller facing bankruptcy and 'fighting it every single day on credit cards'

Cladding crisis: Caller fighting bankruptcy 'every single day on credit cards'

Colston's Girls' School ex-pupil reveals 'inappropriate' rituals to slave trader

Colston's Girls' School ex-pupil reveals 'inappropriate' rituals to slave trader

'I will now say that I forgive the person who killed my son'

'I will now say that I forgive the person who killed my son'