Minors Contract Nz

New Zealand contract law is distinctive from other jurisdictions. This came as a result of the enactment of a series of Acts of Parliament. This process began with the Minors Contracts Act 1969. Then came the Illegal Contracts Act 1970, followed by the Contractual Mistakes Act 1979 and the Contracts Act 1982. One of the main points of these Acts was the wide discretionary powers given to the courts when granting relief.
‘This wide discretion is evident in the type of order that can be made under these statutes. This gives courts more flexibility; they are no longer bound by previous technical and artificial rules’ (Chetwin, Graw. 2001). Initial fears arose when it was thought that predictability, and firmness of the common law would vanish, and that litigation would rise as a result. This has proved not to be the case and judges have been able to do justice between the parties involved.

New Zealand law recognises that people belonging to certain categories (a-Minors, b-persons of unsound mind; and c-drunken persons) have neither the maturity nor the capacity to understand the extent and nature of agreements that they make with other people. These people are considered incapable of giving their true consent and therefore need to be protected from their more predatory fellows. ‘The law provides such protection by simply refusing to enforce certain contracts against them. They are not regarded as being ‘sui junis’ (that is, of full legal capacity) and thus, are considered legally incapable of incurring contractual obligations except in certain, very clearly defined circumstances’ (Chetwin, Graw. 2001).

Resulting from a 2005 amendment to the Minors Contract Act 1969, there are now two distinct categories of the Act:
  a) contracts of minors under the age of 18 (s6)
  b) contracts concerning life insurance entered into by a minor aged 16 or over and contracts of service (s5)
Section 6(1)   states that every contract (unless the contract is for life insurance...