A man who claims he is Britney Spears' new lawyer says her civil rights are being violated and will argue against the conservatorship of her estate.

Jon Eardley has filed a complaint in the US district court on behalf of the Toxic star, saying that the issuing of temporary conservatorship of her affairs to her father James represents a "violation of [Britney's] civil rights".

Los Angeles superior court commissioner Reva Goetz granted James Spears temporary control of his daughter's estate after her hospitalisation in late January and has extended his conservatorship until March 10th, at which point Britney will undergo a psychiatric evaluation to assess her ability to manage herself and her life.

Eardley, a lawyer with practices in New York City, Washington, DC, and Whittier, California, disagrees with the court's ruling and told People.com: "I see the case as a civil rights case."

He added: "These are issues of confinement. Very serious confinement. Not allowed to contact her friends; not allowed to use the phone; not allowed to come and go as you please; bodyguards controlling you and so forth."

Legal experts have said Eardley's legal action is unlikely to achieve anything, especially given the fact that the court has already ruled that Britney "lacks the capacity" to appoint her own lawyer.

"It's not like the judge read papers filed by one side and made decisions without giving each side due process," added Loyola Law School professor Stan Goldman, who is not involved in the case.

"It would be quite surprising if the federal court granted a hearing on this and a total shocker if it ruled against the conservatorship."

But Eardley said he does not believe the 26-year-old's behaviour poses any danger to herself or others, adding: "In downtown Los Angeles I'm surrounded by people talking to themselves and having fits on the street.

"They are out in public. They are not being institutionalised."

18/02/2008 12:44:11