What you can and cannot do as a minor ( 8.30.5.L6 )
What you can and cannot do as a minor
Updated: October 2017
Words you may need to know
Confidential - keep private, not tell anyone
Consent – agreement
Alleged - suspected of doing something, it is said they did something
Defence - an excuse or reason
Necessaries - goods or services which are necessary for normal living
Vulnerable - at risk of physical or emotional harm
Assets - belongings or possessions
Tutelle - A Tutelle is a legal procedure for protecting minors. See below
Estate – when someone makes a will any property or belongings mentioned in the will is called the person’s ‘estate’
Grant – to give or award
Guarantor – someone who promises to do something for someone else
Intentional – deliberate, planned
Maturity – behaviour like an adult
Penalty – punishment
Severe - strict, harsh
Siblings – brothers and sisters
Sue – start legal proceedings to get something back e.g. money that is owed
Technically - in theory, supposedly
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. The age of majority was lowered to 18 in order to bring it into line with the UK on 1 November 1999. Before, it was 21.
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. See below.
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 to the sexual activity.
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. Sexual activity includes sexual intercourse and intentional sexual touching. 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.
Provided that the other person is aged 13 or over, the person who is alleged to have committed the offence may have a defence if they reasonably believe that the other person is aged 16 or over.
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.
However, 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 with the law is 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.
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/guardians legally responsible for care of the minor to get married in Jersey. 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.
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 (intestate) their eldest brother or if there is no brother the eldest sister are entitled to take out Letters of Administration*. 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 or sister or nieces and nephews only then can surviving parents inherit.
* 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.
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.
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 immovable (houses, land etc) property but in the case of movable property (jewellery, paintings, money etc) they now only need one if the movable property has an aggregate 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 administered, or is held on trust.
More than one person can be appointed as Tuteur (so both parents can be appointed). In addition, people who are not the Tuteur can make applications to the court for directions (so they can ask the Royal Court to direct the Tuteur what to do with trust assets).
If the moveable assets inherited are less then £25,000, the asset(s) are held by a parent or guardian until the minor becomes 18.
*Note: Letters of Administration and a tutelle are legal processes. The Judicial Greffe (Probate Divisionj) is the government department that advises on wills and also runs the Court Service.
The Department can be contacted on telephone 441300.
A minor can vote if they have reached 16 years of age and their name is on the electoral roll. See https://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 parent / s need not be informed, but the patient should be encouraged to discuss the surgery with their parent / s. 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/minor 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 Benefits 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.
A lease is a legal agreement between somebody who agrees with a landlord ( or owner / person responsible for a property) to live in the property. The person taking out the lease would normally pay rent to the landlord. A person of 16 years of age can sign a 'paper lease', ie a lease for less than nine years. A 'Contract lease' which is a lease for more than 9 years, 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 'as being the parent of'. If the minor does not have a parent living in Jersey, the Royal Court can appoint someone to act for them.
Legal Aid is a system where legal advice is offered for a reduced rate to someone who qualifies for it. A minor under the age of 18 would be granted Legal Aid at the discretion of the Acting Bâtonnier (person responsible for granting Legal Aid). If the minor was not in work, and living at home, the parent/s would have to apply for Legal Aid for the minor and the parent/s would have to pay for any legal fees.
Contraception and girls under sixteen
Most doctors in Jersey will follow British Medical Association guidelines and provide advice on contraception to girls under the age of 16, although they will always encourage the patient to discuss the matter with her parents.
Jersey Brook has been set up to offer free contraception advice for young people who would prefer not to go to a doctor. See 10.4.2
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.