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Britney Spears conservatorship: Why did she have one and for how long?

The controversial legal restraints which saw father Jamie Spears control the pop star's life for the past 13 years have been terminated by a Los Angeles judge.

The controversial legal restraints which saw father Jamie Spears control the pop star's life for the past 13 years have been terminated by a Los Angeles judge.

A Los Angeles court has ruled that the controversial conservatorship of musician Britney Spears must now be terminated after 13 years.

The agreement, initially sought by Spears’ father, affected the pop star’s personal life and finances and was the subject of much media attention after two documentaries into the situation were aired earlier this year.

In June she spoke in open court about the legal situation for the first time, describing the restraints as abusive and speaking out against those in charge of the conservatorship.

Today’s ruling come with two minor caveats, pertaining to an accountant retaining some financial control, but the overarching conservatorship that had been in place for more than a decade has been terminated.

Britney had requested the end of the conservatorship without the need additional mental evaluations, which Judge Brenda Penny of the Los Angeles Superior Court granted.

In issuing the ruling, Penny said: “The conservatorship of the person and estate of Britney Jean Spears is no longer required,” adding that there was “no need for a capacity declaration.”

Why was Britney Spears under a conservatorship?

In the late 1990s and early 2000s Britney Spears was not only an incredibly popular musician, but also one of the most in demand and recognisable people on the planet. But in 2007 the very public fallout from her divorce from Kevin Federline and excruciating media scrutiny left the star facing a mental health crisis.

A bout of erratic public behaviour resulted in her temporarily losing custody of her children and in 2008 she was twice admitted to hospital, requiring a temporary psychiatric assessment ruling.

Around this time, Jaime Spears petitioned the courts for a temporary conservatorship, with him in control. In recent court papers Jamie has alleged that the legal constraints were, at the time, "necessary to protect Britney in every sense of the word".

He added: "Her life was in shambles and she was in physical, emotional, mental and financial distress."

A conservatorship is considered a legal option of last resort, in which an individual is adjudged to be incapable of making their own choices and some of their decision-making powers are entrusted to a third party.

In the case of Spears’ arrangement the controls were divided in two; covering her financial affairs and personal decisions separately. However for much of the conservatorship Britney remained a hugely successful and driven performer, releasing three albums and completing a hugely popular Las Vegas residency.

Today's verdict was met with joy and relief by Britney and her legion of fans, many of whom gathered outside the courtroom to celebrate the decision. Posting a video of the scenes on her Instagram account, the 39-year-old wrote: "Good God I love my fans so much it’s crazy !!! I think I’m gonna cry the rest of the day."


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