Britney Spears is "afraid" of her father and will not perform again while he is the conservator of her estate, a court has heard.

The pop star has asked a judge in Los Angeles to remove her father, Jamie Spears, from his role overseeing her affairs.

Her life has been controlled by a conservatorship since 2008 after she had a public breakdown. Jamie Spears has objected to his daughter's bid to oust him.

During a hearing yesterday, Samuel D Ingham, representing Ms Spears, told the court the singer has a fraught relationship with her father and will not return to the stage while he is in charge of her affairs.

He said Ms Spears, 38, had told him "on many occasions that she is afraid of her father".

Mr Ingham said the case is at a crossroads and Britney Spears and her father have no "viable working relationship".

They have not spoken in a "long while", he added.

Gladstone Jones, representing Ms Spears' mother, Lynne, said she agreed that Jamie Spears should be suspended from his role as conservator.

Vivian Thoreen, representing Jamie Spears, dismissed the lawyers' testimony as hearsay and said the reason he had not spoken to his daughter was because Mr Ingham had asked him not to.

She also defended her client's record as conservator, saying when he took over, the estate was the subject of tens of millions of dollars of lawsuits.

Under his guidance, Ms Spears' estate is now worth $60m, the court was told. Ms Thoreen said Jamie Spears had always acted in the best interests of his daughter, adding it would be an "extraordinary" move to suspend him from his role.

In court filings, Britney Spears said she wanted private wealth management firm the Bessemer Trust appointed as "sole conservator".

Sitting at Stanley Mosk Courthouse for a largely virtual hearing, Judge Brenda Penny made Bessemer Trust co-conservator of the case but did not suspend Jamie Spears from his role, saying she would hear that part of the case at a later date.

A #FreeBritney protest outside a Los Angeles courthouse in September

The hearing took place against the backdrop of the #FreeBritney movement, an organisation of fans who believe Ms Spears is being kept prisoner against her will.

Some in the movement say Britney Spears sends coded messages through her social media accounts. Fans holding "Free Britney" signs marched outside the court building.

The judge started the hearing by warning those in attendance not to make any noise or gestures, saying they would be removed from the courtroom.

Ms Spears acknowledged the #FreeBritney movement in recent court papers, saying she "welcomes and appreciates the informed support of her many fans".

Britney Spears, who has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, has not performed live since October 2018.

She cancelled a much-anticipated Las Vegas residency in early 2019.

Ms Spears has two sons, Preston, 15, and Jayden, 14, with ex-husband Kevin Federline.