Britney Spears is not capable of understanding court proceedings regarding her estate, according to her court-appointed lawyer.

Samuel Ingham, a lawyer appointed to represent the Toxic star in a hearing to determine how her affairs should be looked after following her hospitalisation, told the Los Angeles court yesterday he believes the singer "does not understand the nature of these proceedings".

Her father James and attorney Andrew Wallet were temporarily appointed co-conservators of Britney's estate at the weekend, after the 26-year-old was sectioned to the UCLA medical centre on Thursday, reportedly suffering from severe bipolar disorder.

And Mr Spears will remain in charge of his daughter's estate until February 14th, superior court commissioner Reva Goetz ruled on Monday, despite a lawyer's claims that the singer had a "strong desire" against her father being granted control.

Adam Streisand, claiming to have been hired by the pop star, argued that she be allowed to choose her own conservator as she was estranged from her father, adding that Andrew Wallet "simply doesn't have the knowledge" to handle Britney's $40 million (£21 million) estate.

But after Ingham told the court Spears "lacks the capacity" to hire a private lawyer, Goetz said James Spears and Andrew Wallet will remain in control of the singer's affairs until February 14th, at which point a psychiatrist will assess her mental capabilities.

The Baby One More Time star's manager and confidante Sam Lufti is said to have contacted Britney on the telephone this weekend, despite a restraining order being issued against him.

A court spokesman told reporters a revised restraining order will be issued against Lufti, forbidding him from contacting Britney directly or indirectly, via phone, email, text messaging or any other means.

05/02/2008 10:43:50