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

'It's unthinkable': Iain Dale reacts to Sir David Amess' murder

'It's unthinkable': Iain Dale reacts to Sir David Amess' death

Poorer areas could see 'even larger' council tax increases than projections, says IFS Director

Poorer areas could see 'even larger' council tax increases than projected, says IFS Director

Shelagh Fogarty condemns Javid's 'insulting' and 'leaden' social care comment

Shelagh Fogarty condemns Sajid Javid's 'insulting' and 'leaden' social care comment

'There has been a failing here': Met has 'very serious questions to answer', Safeguarding minister says

Met has 'very serious questions to answer' over Everard case, says minister

Exclusive
Caller defends eco-mob blocking woman visiting mother in hospital

Caller defends eco-mob blocking woman visiting mother in hospital

'We're looking at an institutional problem and talking about it like it's one bad apple'

'Utterly rotten' Met must be 'investigated' after Couzens' sentence, activist tells LBC

'When do we say this is enough?': Women's activist questions Cressida Dick's competence

'When do we say this is enough?': Women's activist questions Cressida Dick's competence

Hariett Harman tells LBC why she wants Cressida Dick to resign

Harriet Harman tells LBC why she wants Cressida Dick to resign

'We don't tolerate the Yorkshire ripper, but we tolerate lesser offences': Shelagh Fogarty condemns tolerance of male violence

'We tolerate lesser offending by men before they go on to murder girls and women'

'Hammer out a plan': Ashworth's message for Javid as key workers struggle for fuel

'Hammer out a plan': Ashworth's message for Javid as key workers struggle for fuel

UK 'subservient to US thinking' on Afghanistan withdrawal, says Defence Select Committee Chair

UK 'subservient to US thinking' on Afghanistan withdrawal, says Tobias Ellwood

'All we've done is replaced the Taliban with the Taliban': caller clashes with Shelagh Fogarty

'All we've done is replaced the Taliban with the Taliban': caller clashes with Shelagh Fogarty

The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan is being celebrated by jihadists worldwide "as arguably their greatest victory since 9/11", Charles Lister has told LBC.

Afghanistan crisis: 'Jihadists are celebrating this as arguably their greatest victory since 9/11'

'I think it's appalling what we've done to the Afghan people'

'I think it's appalling what we've done to the Afghan people'

'It didn't have to be this way': Ex-army Major hits out at Afghanistan crisis

'It didn't have to be this way': Ex-army Major gives take on Afghanistan crisis

Afghanistan: UK response at the moment 'simply not good enough', says Lisa Nandy

Afghanistan: UK response at the moment 'simply not good enough', says Lisa Nandy