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Rocco Ritchie attends court

ROCCO Ritchie made his first appearance in court.

The 15-year-old joined his father Guy Ritchie and stepmother Jacqui Ainsley at a hearing at London's High Court, though his mother Madonna was unable to attend.

Because of Rocco's age, High Court Judge Alistair MacDonald ordered all legal arguments heard inside the court relating to the custody battle over the teenager must remain private.

Another hearing took place in London last week and is part of proceedings to decide whether the 57-year-old singer should be allowed to withdraw her legal action in the UK and have the case heard solely in the US.

At last week's meeting, the '4 Minutes' singer's attorney, David Williams QC, explained initially launched proceedings in England under the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction, but had since decided to stop the litigation.

He said: "It is her desire that this is resolved as quickly as possible."

The judge urged Madonna and her ex-husband to reach an "amicable settlement" and bring an end to the "highly unfortunate and deeply regrettable" situation.

A hearing in New York last week declared Rocco should stay with his father for the time being to prevent further disruption to his education.

Another hearing is scheduled in the US for June 1 in the event they are unable to reach a resolution in the dispute.

Rocco left Madonna's 'Rebel Heart' tour late last year to stay with his father and subsequently defied a court order to return to his mother and siblings Lourdes, 19, David, and Mercy, both 10, for Christmas.