What you can and cannot do as a minor

8.30.5.L6 Updated on:

Age of majority and meaning of minor

The age of majority is the age in law when a child or young person is thought to become an adult. In Jersey, the age of majority is 18 years.

In law, a child or young person below the age of 18 is classed as a minor but in some cases, the law might say that a minor is under the age of 16.

Age of consent for sexual intercourse

It is legal for two people of the opposite or same sex to have a sexual relationship if both of them are aged 16 or over and both of them consent.

It is a criminal offence for a person of either sex to engage in sexual activity with a person who is under the age of 16. The penalties for an offence of this type are generally more severe if the person committing them is aged 18 or over than if they are under 18.

Contracts

A contract is a legal agreement between two or more people who agree to do something. A minor cannot enter into a legally binding contract under 18 years of age without their parent’s consent, unless it is for goods or services for a child’s essential needs. This does not cover items of comfort or convenience.

In practice, if one person or party is under 18 then the other party will ask for a guarantor or for a parent or guardian to be a party to the contract. e.g. if a minor wants to enter a contract to buy something such as a telephone contract.

Minimum age for employment

The Children (Regulation of Employment) (Jersey) Order 2011 states how and where young people can be employed, whether they are being paid or not. It applies to minors under 16 years old.

A person must not employ anyone under 13 years old.

When in trouble with the law

Minors under 18 years of age are dealt with in the Youth Court or often at a Parish Hall Enquiry.

If someone is over 18 and no longer a minor, they are dealt with at a Parish Hall Enquiry, in the Magistrate’s Court or in the Royal Court depending on how serious the offence is.

A minor under 16 years of age must have a responsible adult present when interviewed by Police. A minor over 16 may be interviewed without a responsible adult present unless they are thought to be vulnerable and at risk of physical or mental harm.

If a minor in trouble under 14 years of age, the Children’s Service is likely to be involved. If over 16 it will be the Probation Service.

Buying shares and property

Anyone under 18 years of age cannot buy shares in a company or property.

Marriage

The marriage of a minor is legal at 16 years of age but anyone under the age of 18 needs the consent of all parents or guardians. Being married does not make any difference to the age of majority. A person is still a minor until the age of 18, even if married.

Leaving home

There is no law in Jersey about when a minor can leave home. However, parental responsibility ends when a minor reaches the age of 18.

Death of a minor

If a minor dies unmarried and without making a will, their eldest brother or if there is no brother the eldest sister are entitled to take out Letters of Administration. In practice, Letters of Administration only need to be taken out where there are assets to be distributed, e.g. inheritance from grandparents, savings etc. Anything that belongs to the minor is divided equally between any surviving siblings and children of any other siblings who have passed away but not the minor’s parents. If the deceased minor left no surviving brother, sister, niece or nephew, only then can surviving parents inherit.

If the deceased minor left a valid will, the assets of the minor will be distributed according to the terms of the will after all debts are paid. The executor named in the will is entitled to take out a grant of probate. If the named executor refuses to do so, the persons who are entitled to take out a grant are those people entitled to a share of the minor’s estate on an intestacy.

Inheritance

If a minor inherits an estate, they cannot have access to it until they are 18 years of age.

Under the Childrens’ Property and Tuteurs (Jersey) Law 2016 a tutelle is needed if a child inherits any immovable (houses, land etc.) property or movable property (jewellery, paintings, money etc.) with a value of more than £25,000.

A tutelle is not necessary if the property a minor is to inherit forms part of the estate of someone who has died and the estate is being held on trust.

More than one person can be appointed as Tuteur.  In addition, people who are not the Tuteur can make applications to the court for directions.

If the moveable assets inherited are less than £25,000, the assets are held by a parent or guardian until the minor becomes 18.

The Judicial Greffe  (Probate Division) is the government department that advises on wills.

Tel: +44 1534 441300.

Voting

A minor can vote if they have reached 16 years of age and their name is on the electoral roll. See www.vote.je/register-to-vote/

Giving consent for surgery

Following a decision by the Courts in the UK, it is allowed for a person under 16 to give their consent for surgery. This consent would be acceptable by the hospital as long as the medical practitioner considered the minor to have the maturity to understand the procedure.

The minor’s parents need not be informed, but the patient should be encouraged to discuss the surgery with their parents. A parent cannot object to treatment on a minor’s behalf after the age of majority.

Visiting the doctor alone

Most doctors will happily see a child alone but would generally charge the cost to the parent unless this compromises patient confidentiality. After age 16, a person must have their own Health Card as long as they have been living in Jersey for 6 months. If they are still in full-time education, minors do not have to pay Social Security contributions in order to have their own card.

School leaving age

A minor is of compulsory school age throughout the period beginning on the first day of the school term in which their fifth birthday falls and ending on the thirtieth day of June in the school year in which they reach the age of 16 years.

Leasing property

A lease is a legal agreement between somebody who agrees with a landlord to live in a property. The person taking out the lease would normally pay rent to the landlord. A person of 16 years of age can sign a lease for a term of up to 9 years. A contract lease is a lease for 9 years or more and can only be taken on by someone aged 18 or more.

Taking legal action

A person under the age of 18 cannot take legal action against another person, e.g. cannot sue someone in the Petty Debts Court or the Royal Court. Instead, a parent of the minor can take action on their behalf. If the minor does not have a parent living in Jersey, the Royal Court can appoint someone to act for them.

In the case of Personal Injury, the three year time limit starts on the young person’s 18th birthday.

Legal Aid

Legal Aid is a system where legal advice is offered for a reduced rate to someone who meets their criteria. A minor under the age of 18 would be granted Legal Aid at their discretion. If the minor was not in work and living at home, the parents would have to apply for Legal Aid for the minor and the parents would have to pay for any legal fees.

Contraception

Most doctors in Jersey will follow British Medical Association guidelines and provide advice on contraception to young people under the age of 16, although they will always encourage the patient to discuss the matter with their parents.

Jersey Brook has been set up to offer free contraception advice for young people who would prefer not to go to a doctor.

Selling alcohol in bars, shops, supermarkets, and restaurants

The Licensing (Jersey) Law 1974 prevents a person, under the age of 18, from being employed in work in connection with any bar on licensed premises.

The Children (Regulation of Employment) (Jersey) Order 2011 forbids a minor from selling any kind of alcohol while in any employment.

Protection of Children [Cigarette Lighter Refill] [Jersey] Regulations 2009

These Regulations came into force on the 15th October 2009. The Regulations prohibit any person from supplying in the course of a business any cigarette lighter, refill canister containing butane to a person under the age of 18 years.

The Children (Regulation of Employment) (Jersey) Order 2011 forbids a minor from selling any kind of tobacco while in any employment.

FAQ

What is the age of a minor?

Click Me

A minor is a person under the age of 18.

Close

What is the minimum age for employment in Jersey?

Click Me

The Children (Regulation of Employment) (Jersey) Order 2011 states how and where young people can be employed, whether they are being paid or not. It applies to minors under 16 years old.

A person must not employ anyone under 13 years old.

Close

What age do I have to be before I can vote?

Click Me

You can vote if you have reached 16 years of age and your name is on the electoral roll. See www.vote.je/register-to-vote/

Close