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2. Who can make a contract?

A person with the age of 18 or above is usually qualified to make a contract. However, you should pay special attention when dealing with the following two groups of people:


A) Minor


Young people make contracts every day and the law will recognize and enforce these contracts. However, there are legal rules that prevent anyone under 18 (called minors) from making certain contracts.


Even if you're a minor, you can enter into certain contracts and run the risk of being sued for breach of contract. It depends on whether or not the things you agreed to buy are what the law describes as "necessaries" (a legal jargon for "necessities" which means the goods suitable to the condition in life of a minor and to his/her actual requirements at the time of the sale and delivery, such as clothes or food). A minor who fails to pay for "necessaries" can be sued by the seller.


If you're under 18, there are some types of contract that you cannot make legally, and that the law does not recognize. For examples, you cannot take out a loan, a mortgage, or to buy a flat in your own name. You cannot make a contract to buy anything which is not a "necessary". If you have done so, the relevant contract would be void. That means that if you failed to pay for the goods, the seller couldn't sue you to get his money back, but he could demand the return of the goods.


B) Mental Patients and Drunkards


Some people use mental illnesses or extreme drunkenness to avoid contractual liabilities. The pre-conditions are that such illnesses or drunkenness existed at the time of the transaction and prevented a party from understanding the transaction, AND the other party was aware of this condition at the time the contract was made. However, the drunkard will still be liable if he ratifies the contract (confirms the deal) when he becomes sober.