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Children and Contracts

Written by Izaz Ali on 19 December 2008

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This note looks at minor and their ability to contract and the enforceability of the contract.

Under English law a minor is bound by promises, contracts and deeds relating to necessaries. The definition of necessaries means life's absolute essentials. This would include food, drink, clothing, lodging and medicine. The definition can also include other items that are suitable for the condition in life of the minor and suitable for his actual requirements at the time of the sale and delivery.

The difficulty for any retailer is that the burden lies on the retailer to show that the goods supplied are necessary. Also retailers need to take particular care in that credit agreements are unenforceable against minors and so are any harsh or oppressive terms. Great care needs to be taken here. If a term is oppressive the whole contract could be made void and in contrast if a term is favorable to a child then it can be enforceable.

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