Pop superstar Madonna is snubbing a court hearing in Malawi on Thursday, where her adoption of two-year-old David Banda is expected to be confirmed.
The 49-year-old was scheduled to jet to the African nation to appear in the capital Lilongwe's High Court - but has pulled out just days before, claiming "other engagements" have clashed with the hearing.
She had already been granted permission to stay away; when she attempted to have the date moved, the judge informed her the adoption could be finalised in her absence.
Madonna's lawyer Alan Chinula says: "We are going to court on Thursday but Madonna will not be there because she is not coming. The judge has indicated that he cannot object to her being absent when making the ruling."
Thursday's ruling will end an 20-month long saga, since Madonna took Banda from an orphanage in October 2006, when he was just 13 months old."