Minors' Contracts Bill [Lords]

– in the House of Commons at 11:15 pm on 7th April 1987.

Alert me about debates like this

Not amended (in the Standing Committee), considered. Order for Third Reading read.

Photo of Sir Patrick Mayhew Sir Patrick Mayhew , Tunbridge Wells 11:27 pm, 7th April 1987

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

This short Bill has received consideration in both Houses. It gives effect to the Law Commission's report on minors' contracts. Its purpose is to amend and modernise three aspects of the law on this topic which seemed to the commission to be in need of reform. The Bill accordingly repeals two obsolete and confusing 19th century statutes; reverses the common law rule that a guarantee is unenforceable against the guarantor if the principal obligation in unenforceable on grounds of minority, and gives the courts greater power to make restitution of property acquired by a minor under an unenforceable contract.

It is enough to say that it has been generally welcomed as a useful measure of law reform which would make the law in this area more simple and more just. I commend the Bill to the House.

Photo of Nick Brown Nick Brown Shadow Solicitor General 11:28 pm, 7th April 1987

The Bill is to be welcomed. The aim of the Law Commission—it is the work of the Law Commission that has brought the Bill into being—was to uphold and balance two fundamental principles in this area of the law. It sought to protect the minor against his own inexperience and the exploitation of unscrupulous adults and, at the same time, to avoid causing unnecessary hardship to adults who deal fairly with minors.

Those two principles have been carried through into the Bill admirably and I particularly admire the continued application of the principle of qualified unenforceability. I am grateful to the Solicitor-General for the note and for the exploration we had in Committee of the points contained in clause 3. I am happy to see the Bill come into law.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time, and passed, without amendment.