Du Toit V Lotriet Case Summary

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Foundations of South African Law- RDL 1003/6W
Assignment 1- Case Summary- Du Toit v Loriet 1918 OPD 99

Facts: The Plaintiff “Du Toit” entered into a contract to lease his agricultural land for two years, starting on the 15th of July 1918 with the option of sale with the defendant “Lotriet”. The plaintiff was a minor at the time the contract was entered into in June 1916 and yet the contract was only going to commence after the plaintiff had reached majority. The plaintiffs farther (the guardian) did sign the contract on 15th of July 1916 but it is argued that It was merely a mechanical signature as the farther did not know what the contents of the contract were and so did not give informed consent. The plaintiff wants the contract to be null and void as if the contract goes through it will not be to the benefit of the plaintiff but to his prejudice.
Issues:
The main issue discussed in this case is that of whether a contract that is entered into by a minor that only takes effect after the minor has become a major, a valid and binding contract?
Two other issues that tend to arise in the case are what were the circumstances that led to the father’s signature being on the contract? Did the guardian have informed consent at the time of signing the contract or was it simply a mechanical signature? The other issue raised refers to whether the contract is to the prejudice of the minor and if so the contract will be null and void.
Maasdorp CJ:
Law: the rule of law that applies in this case is a general rule, if it is necessary to enter into a contract which whilst commencing during guardianship, unavoidable extends to a moderate time period after the individual reaches majority, being in accordance with the customs of the country, the ‘ward’ will be bound by such contracts until the termination thereof. A guardian however, has no authority to enter into any contract which is only to commence after the termination of the guardianship.
The Old Authorities say:

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