Law of Contract 1
Explain the circumstances in which a minor mental in competent or drunk person may escape
liability for a contract. Also explain the circumstances in which they or their guardian may be
bound or become bound by the contract
The parties to a binding promise that’s meant to give rise to legal obligations must have
contractual capacity. All persons are regarded by law to have contractual capacity unless the law
states that such persons lack contractual capacity. Minors, incompetent persons such as persons
of unsound minds and intoxicated persons have limited contractual ability as relates to the case
of R Leslie v Sheill  3 KB 607.
Besides the contracts for necessaries and other binding contracts unless they have been
repudiated the rest of contracts that have been signed by minors under common law are void.
Section 2 of the Infant Relief Act (1874) in the UK makes all the loan contracts, debts and
contracts for the supply of goods that are not necessaries to be absolutely void and cannot be
Minors may escape liability when they contract for necessaries which are reasonable like for
instance food, shelter, medicine and reasonable clothing items as per the Minors Contracts Act
Law of Contract 2
Luxurious items are not considered as necessaries as in the case of Ryder v Wombell (1868) LR
4 Exch, 32. Mental or drunk persons may escape liability if at the time of contracting they were
not in their right minds or they were not lucid Chapple v Cooper (1844) 153 ER 105.
When a minor deviates from the terms of a contract like for instance misusing a rental car or
using it for unauthorized purposes hence negligently damages the car then it would be involve
the guardian on charges of tortuous liability as in the case of Burnard v Haggis (1863) 143 ER
360 and Jennings v Rundall (1799) 101 ER 1419.
The guardians of minors and persons of unsound minds maybe bound if the contracts are not for
the supply of necessaries like food, clothing or other basic needs Nash v Inman (1908) 2 KB 1.
Law of Contract 3
Burnard v Haggis (1863) 143 ER 360
Chapple v Cooper (1844) 153 ER 105.
Nash v Inman (1908) 2 KB 1.
Ryder v Wombell (1868) LR 4 Exch, 32.
Minors Contracts Act (1987) UK
Infant Relief Act (1874)
Jennings v Rundall (1799) 101 ER 1419
R Leslie v Sheill  3 KB 607