Britney Spears' father Jamie has been granted indefinite control of his daughter's affairs.

Mr Spears was given control of the Toxic star's assets in February following her admission to a psychiatric ward and despite her apparent recovery, the arrangement has now been made permanent.

Jamie's management of the 26-year-old's personal and financial affairs had been due to expire on December 31st but Los Angeles superior court commissioner Reva Goetz ruled that a permanent conservatorship of Britney's affairs was "necessary and appropriate".

"I've met several times with [Britney] and she requested that I not object to the permanent conservatorship," said Britney's court-appointed lawyer Samuel Ingham in open court.

A source close to the singer told People magazine the conservatorship order should be viewed as a positive move for the mother-of-two.

"The conservatorship being made permanent in name is primarily to ensure increased time with her children, and provide support for her music and work goals," the source explained.

Following a public breakdown in late 2007 in which she was hospitalised and lost custody of her two sons to ex-husband Kevin Federline, Britney had seemed to be on the road to improvement lately, winning three MTV awards and seeing her song Womanizer top the US single charts.

However Ms Goetz said granting permanent conservatorship of the singer's affairs to Jamie Spears was the necessary move, after medical and legal assessments showed Britney was "susceptible to undue influence."

"People shouldn't read too much into the word 'permanent'" said Terry K Wasserman, a mental health lawyer not involved with this case. "In many cases, it's just a formality to avoid having to renew a temporary status over and over again."

"Ms Spears can regain control of her life anytime – as long as her doctors feel she's able to manage her own affairs," he told People.

Britney was recently on trial over driving in California without a valid licence, a case in which Jamie testified on his daughter's behalf, as the conservatorship order allows.

29/10/2008 09:45:27