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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



Contracts by Minors

It is sometimes said that contracts by persons under 21 do not bind them. This is, however, subject to qualifications. Some contracts are merely voidable, that is, they are binding unless and until the minor repudiates them. Examples are tenancy agreements, contracts for the purchase of land or shares, and separation agreements. Contracts for necessaries, beneficial contracts of employment, and any contract entered into with the prior approval of a Magistrate, are wholly binding on a minor. A minor who enters into a contract that does not bind him, or repudiates a voidable contract, cannot recover anything he has paid under the contract unless he himself has derived no benefit whatever or can make complete restitution of what he has acquired.

Two points should be stressed. If the contract is completely carried out by both parties, the transaction is at an end and cannot ordinarily be reopened. Secondly, a minor can enforce any contract against the other party. The rules relating to minors' contracts are for their protection and the other party cannot take advantage of such rules.

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