In law, there is a presumption that every individual is entitled to enter into a legally binding relationship with any other party. However, there exists some exceptions to this presumption and one of these exceptions is the one that bars people of a certain age from entering into a legally binding contract. In this text, I explain the ethics as to why individuals of a certain age are not allowed to enter into a legally binding contract.

Law of contract: the ethics behind age exceptions

            Those who have not attained the age of the majority are called minors and they are effectively barred from entering into contracts except for some specified purposes i.e. for necessities. One of the main ethics based reasons for baring minors from entering into contractual relationships is to avert an instance where they might end up being manipulated as a result of their scanty understanding of the law at an early age.

Richards (2009) notes that for commodities not considered to be necessities, any contract entered with minors is null and void. This is done in the full understanding that some unscrupulous individuals may try force minors into legally binding contracts for pleasure items for business or personal gains whereas it is clear that the minors may not need such items. However, for necessities such as food, the law barring minors from entering into a contract is wavered to protect the minor from suffering unnecessarily but they may be voidable at the minor’s option (Richards 2009).


It is important to note that the spirit of the exceptions in the law of contract as regards people of a certain age is to protect them from being manipulated by parties bent on taking advantage of their naivety or otherwise.


Richards, P. (2009). Law of Contract, 9th Edition. Pearson Longman


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