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Chapter

Cover Koffman, Macdonald & Atkins' Law of Contract

22. Additional chapter: Capacity  

This chapter considers the scope of contractual capacity, noting the tension in the law between the need to protect someone who is incapacitated and the desire to not treat too harshly the person dealing fairly with the incapacitated person. The general rule is that a minor will not be bound by a contract, although the person contracting with them will be. There are exceptions which will bind both parties unless the minor repudiates, and on becoming 18 a minor may ratify a contract made before that date. The law recognizes the general incapacity to contract of minors, the mentally incapacitated, and in certain circumstances where an individual is intoxicated. An adult of sound mind has full contractual capacity, although they may be able to claim that the contract is not enforceable on some other basis, for example undue influence.

Chapter

Cover Cheshire, Fifoot, and Furmston's Law of Contract

13. Capacity of Parties  

M P Furmston

This chapter examines the law governing contracts made by minors, or by persons who are mentally afflicted or drunk. It also considers the present position of corporations, who make contracts outside the limits set out in the formative document.

Chapter

Cover Anson's Law of Contract

7. Incapacity  

Jack Beatson, Andrew Burrows, and John Cartwright

This chapter discusses the grounds of contractual incapacity. It considers contracts made with the Crown and public authorities; corporations and incorporated associations; minors; and persons lacking mental capacity and drunken persons.

Chapter

Cover JC Smith's The Law of Contract

21. Capacity  

This chapter discusses the issue of capacity. The general rule is that contracts are valid but unenforceable on minors (persons under 18 years of age). However, they are enforceable against adults, and a minor can ratify a contract upon attaining the age of majority so that the contract is enforceable against both parties. At common law, mental incapacity is not by itself a reason to set aside a contract. But if the other party knows, or ought to know, of the mental incapacity, then the contract can be set aside. The Mental Capacity Act 2005 makes it clear that a person who lacks capacity must still pay a reasonable price for necessary goods and services.

Chapter

Cover Poole's Casebook on Contract Law

4. Intention to be legally bound and capacity to contract  

Robert Merkin and Séverine Saintier

Poole’s Casebook on Contract Law provides a comprehensive selection of case law that addresses all aspects of the subject encountered on undergraduate courses. This chapter deals with intention to be legally bound and capacity to contract. In order to enforce any promise not contained in a deed, there must be an intention to create legal relations. This intention is traditionally determined using different presumptions for domestic and commercial agreements. In the case of domestic and social agreements, there is a presumption that there is no intention to create legal relations. In contrast, there is a presumption of an intention to create legal relations in commercial agreements. Both presumptions are capable of being rebutted on the facts, e.g. an honour clause in a commercial contract. The second part of this chapter examines capacity to contract and particularly the enforceability of contracts made by minors.

Chapter

Cover Poole's Textbook on Contract Law

4. Intention to be legally bound, formalities, and capacity to contract  

Robert Merkin, Séverine Saintier, and Jill Poole

Course-focused and comprehensive, Poole’s Textbook on Contract Law provides an accessible overview of the key areas on the law curriculum. This chapter examines the requirement that there must be an intention to create legal relations and specific requirements of form, such as writing, for an agreement to be enforceable as a legally binding contract. Traditionally, this intention to create legal relations is determined objectively using two presumptions that can be rebutted on the evidence. First, it is presumed that there was no intention to be legally bound in the context of social or domestic agreements. Secondly, it is presumed that the parties to commercial agreements intended to be legally bound unless there are clear words indicating the opposite, such as the existence of an honour clause. In addition, some contracts require particular formalities to be binding. The chapter outlines some examples of these and discusses the consequences of non-compliance with the formality requirements. It also considers the capacity rules in contract (i.e. a party’s ability in law to contract) and the effect of incapacity on a contract, focusing on contracts made by minors (persons below 18 years old). The chapter concludes by discussing electronic signatures and the implications of e-commerce for formality requirements in contracts.

Chapter

Cover Poole's Textbook on Contract Law

4. Intention to be legally bound, formalities, and capacity to contract  

Robert Merkin KC, Séverine Saintier, and Jill Poole

Course-focused and comprehensive, Poole’s Textbook on Contract Law provides an accessible overview of the key areas of the law curriculum. This chapter examines the requirement that there must be an intention to create legal relations and specific requirements of form, such as writing, for an agreement to be enforceable as a legally binding contract. Traditionally, this intention to create legal relations is determined objectively using two presumptions that can be rebutted on the evidence. First, it is presumed that there was no intention to be legally bound in the context of social or domestic agreements. Secondly, it is presumed that the parties to commercial agreements intended to be legally bound unless there are clear words indicating the opposite, such as the existence of an honour clause. In addition, some contracts require particular formalities to be binding. The chapter outlines some examples of these and discusses the consequences of non-compliance with the formality requirements. It also considers the capacity rules in contract (i.e. a party’s ability in law to contract) and the effect of incapacity on a contract, focusing on contracts made by minors (persons below 18 years old). The chapter concludes by discussing electronic signatures and the implications of e-commerce for formality requirements in contracts.

Chapter

Cover Mason and McCall Smith's Law and Medical Ethics

10. Ethico-Legal Issues Affecting Children  

G. T. Laurie, S. H. E. Harmon, and E. S. Dove

This chapter examines a range of ethico-legal issues as the impact on children. The focus is one consent of mature minors, and the limits therefore, and also on the range of rights and responsibilities relating to children concerning protection of the ir personal data. The chapter then discusses ethical and legal aspects of non-therapeutic research on children; therapeutic research on children; foetal research and experimentation; and embryos and embryonic stem cell research.

Chapter

Cover Poole's Casebook on Contract Law

4. Intention to be legally bound, formalities, and capacity to contract  

Robert Merkin KC, Séverine Saintier, and Jill Poole

Poole’s Casebook on Contract Law provides a comprehensive selection of case law that addresses all aspects of the subject encountered on undergraduate courses. This chapter deals with intention to be legally bound and capacity to contract. In order to enforce any promise not contained in a deed, there must be an intention to create legal relations. This intention is traditionally determined using different presumptions for domestic and commercial agreements. In the case of domestic and social agreements, there is a presumption that there is no intention to create legal relations. In contrast, there is a presumption of an intention to create legal relations in commercial agreements. Both presumptions are capable of being rebutted on the facts, e.g. an honour clause in a commercial contract. The second part of this chapter examines capacity to contract and particularly the enforceability of contracts made by minors.

Chapter

Cover Poole's Textbook on Contract Law

15. Remedies providing for specific relief and restitutionary remedies  

Robert Merkin KC, Séverine Saintier, and Jill Poole

Course-focused and comprehensive, Poole’s Textbook on Contract Law provides an accessible overview of the key areas of the law curriculum. Equitable remedies that provide for specific relief refer to remedies for breach of contract which compel actual performance, rather than simply compensating for loss caused by breach. Compulsion of performance may take the form of claiming an agreed sum, a claim seeking specific performance, or a claim seeking an injunction. The claim or action for an agreed sum gives effect to the claimant’s performance interest by ordering the party in breach to pay the liquidated sum (debt), his agreed performance under the contract. The chapter examines the remedy of specific performance as a court order that compels actual performance of agreed obligations (other than payment of the price). As an equitable remedy it is available at the discretion of the court, but only when damages would be an inadequate remedy. This chapter also examines remedies providing for specific relief and restitutionary remedies, the latter of which refer to recovery based on failure of consideration and quantum meruit. Finally, the chapter examines the availability of specific compensatory remedies in instances where there is no financial loss, namely the exceptional remedy of an account of profit or the remedy of ‘negotiating damages’—and their relationship.

Chapter

Cover Competition Law

10. Competition Act 1998 and the cartel offence: public enforcement and procedure  

This chapter describes the system of public enforcement under the Competition Act 1998. This chapter begins with a consideration of the way in which inquiries and investigations are carried out under the Competition Act. It briefly considers the position of complainants to the CMA, followed by a discussion of the extent to which it may be possible to receive guidance from the CMA on the application of the Act. The chapter then describes the powers of the CMA to enforce the Competition Act, the criminal law cartel offence and the provisions on company director disqualification. It concludes with a discussion of concurrency, appeals under the Competition Act and the Government’s review of the operation of the Competition Act between 2014 and 2019.