1. Capacity of Minors
A minor is someone who has not reached the age of majority (18 years in Kenya.) As a general rule, a minor is not bound by any contract made during his minority. There are 3 exceptions to this:
• Contracts for necessaries
• Contacts of educational or employment or training nature
• Certain contracts which are avoidable.
The term necessaries is not restricted to things which are required to maintain a base existence such as bread and clothes but includes articles which are reasonably necessary to the minor having regard to his station in life. A watch for example, a radio or a motor cycle may be considered necessaries & not articles of mere luxury.
An engagement ring may be a necessary but not a diamond necklace bought for the minors by her fiancée. Goods are not the only necessaries, the hire of a car may be a contract for necessaries. If the necessaries are goods, the minor is liable only when the goods are suitable for his condition in life, necessary to his requirements at the time of sale and necessary for his requirements at the time of delivery. A minor must pay a reasonable price for necessaries supplied to him.
Although the goods supplied may be within the class of necessaries, they may not be necessary to the particular minor.
Nash v. Inman (1908)
Inman, a minor, who was an undergraduate at Cambridge bought 11 fancy waist coats from M on credit. He was at the time adequately provided with clothes. It was held the waist coats were not necessaries and was not liable to pay for any of them.
b) Education and Employment contracts for the minor’s benefits
Not every contract for the benefit of a minor is binding on him. But contracts for his education service and apprenticeship or for enabling him to earn a living are binding unless they are detrimental to the interests of the minor. E.g. apprenticeship on how to be a thief!
A contract... [continues]
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