Contrtactual Capacity of Minors

Topics: Contract, Contract law, Common law Pages: 5 (1818 words) Published: November 24, 2008

Contractual Capacity

Contractual Capacity is the legal ability to enter into a contract. Minors have particular rights and obligations established by the court when it comes to contracts. Once a person reaches age 18, they are considered a legal adult in every state in the nation. In addition to minors, other persons are able to avoid contracts. Mentally impaired and intoxicated people, convicts, and aliens lack the capacity to enter into a contract.

A Minor

In law, the term minor (also infant or infancy) is used to refer to a person who is under the age in which one legally assumes adulthood and is legally granted rights afforded to adults in society. Depending on the jurisdiction and application, this age may vary, but is usually marked at either 18 or 21. Specifically, the status of "minor" is defined by the age of majority. In many countries, including Brazil, Croatia, India, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, a minor is presently defined as a person under the age of 18. In the United States, where the age of majority is set by the individual states, 'minor' usually refers to someone under the age of 18, but can be used in certain areas to define someone under the age of 21.


Contracts entered into between the Infants and the adult are distinguished the two kinds, invalid contract and valid contract. But the both has a same purpose; by the former infants shift off to bear the risk and by the latter they are promoted their upbringing. Namely, to treats the infant likes the adult compromises infant’s interests, as the infant’s body and mind are immature and he lacks social experiences. Infants, therefore, are under the guardianship of the laws. On the other hand, if a trader refuses to contract with an infant on the ground that a person who concludes a contract with an infant does not enforce the contract against the infant, the infant is unable to make a living. In order to prevent such an extraordinary phenomenon, contract for necessaries and other beneficial contracts are treated as valid contracts.

Common law and statutes established the rule that the adult are forbidden bringing the action against the infant to enforce the invalid contract. On the contract of necessaries, the other party is liable for the burden of proof whether the things supplied were necessaries to the infant’s station in life and to his particular circumstances at the time. And on a contract of apprenticeship or service, the infant is only bound where "on the whole" it is for his benefit. As stated above, English law pays attentions the infant than the safety of trade. The latter is protected only by equitable doctrines. However, in the law of contract there is no consideration to control the infants before concluding contracts. In short, English law of contract treats at first hand the infant as the independent unit.

Binding Contracts

Contracts which are binding to the infants are:
1. Contracts for the supply of necessaries.
Necessaries" are defined as Goods suitable to the condition in life of a minor and to his actual requirements at the time of sale and delivery. The common law does not exclude the rendering of services from the category of necessaries, but the definition compendiously states the common law on what may constitute a necessary. In other words, the term embraces more than the basic necessities of life, and its meaning will vary according to "the age of the infant, his income and his rank, his profession or calling." These include School fees, school books and clothes are held to be necessaries, but life insurance was not, because the court found that insurance was not a requirement of a single man. By contrast, the purchase of a house was held to be a necessary because the minor was married and had a child. Even those goods or services supplied to a minor for the purpose of furthering any business in which he may be engaged, are not necessaries....
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