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Civil Obligations - Agreements

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YEAR 12 SENIOR LEGAL STUDIES CIVIL OBLIGATIONS - AGREEMENTS Minors Capacity to Contract Geoff Shaw We are required to undertake an inquiry of a legal issue facing Queensland society. We are to write an essay response and also create an A4 pamphlet informing a senior school audience of our topic. We are required to consider the key question: What rights and responsibilities do individuals have regarding contracts? A contract is a legally binding document, and for a contract to exist both parties must have contractual capacity. There are certain persons and classes of persons that lack the capacity to enter into a contract. The consequences resulting from entering a contract such as this , is that the contract will not be enforceable. The lack of capacity now stems from a fear of vulnerability to exploitation. Any person is competent to bind themself to any contract they choose to make, provided that it is not illegal or void for reasons of public policy. An example of exceptions to this law are minors. Minors are just one of the many groups that are included in this rule. Under common law people under the age of 18 are designated as "minors" and only have a limited capacity to enter a contract. ...read more.


Perhaps the contract in Roberts v. Gray belongs more so to the category of beneficial contracts of service, rather than being defined as 'necessaries'. A contract is not binding on behalf of a minor merely because it is proven to be for the minor's benefit instead a contract which would otherwise be binding by being deemed as a contract for necessaries is not so if it contains harsh and onerous terms this can be shown through the case of Fawcett v. Smethurst (1914) 84 LJKB 473. It is for the minor's benefit that they should be able to obtain employment which would be difficult if he was not capable of entering a binding contract. The law allows the minor to do so, providing that the contract, taken as a whole, is manifestly for his benefit. So when a young railway porter agreed to join an insurance scheme and to forgo any claims he might have under the Employers' Liability Act, he had forfeited his rights under the Act, the contract as a whole being for his benefit. Contracts enabling a minor to pursue a career as a professional boxer and as an author have been held binding as being for their benefit as proclaimed in Clements v ...read more.


act 1970 provides that a guarantee of a minor's contract is not unenforceable against the guarantor merely because the contract made by the minor is unenforceable against him on the ground that he is a minor. The section does not apply if the contract made by the minor is unenforceable against him for some other reason, for example misrepresentation or duress by the adult party. In such a case the guarantor would not be bound. From this we are able to see various conditions regarding a contract. When entering a contract, both parties have to have contractual capacity. There are exceptions from this law these exceptions can be classified by persons or groups of persons. A major group included in these exceptions are Minors. Under the Minors (Property & Contracts) Act 1970, with minors being excluded in the contract law a minor can still get a job, only if they take the contract as a whole and is manifestly best for the minors benefit. These laws have been put in place as due to the fear that due to the lack of the minor's capacity some people could take advantage of them and exploit them. Any person is competent to bind themself to any contract they choose to make, provided that it is no illegal or is voidable by contract terms. ...read more.

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