Lindi Smith is 15 years old, against the wishes of her parents she has signed a contract with Preston Computer College to embark on a computer programming course. The duration of the course is 6 months and Preston Computer College must receive an upfront payment of R200 for enrolment and R500 per month payable, monthly in advance for the duration of the course. In terms of the contract a one month’s notice or one month’s fee in lieu of notice will be required to terminate the contract. Lindi pays a total of R700 from money given to her by her parents for birthday celebrations. After one month, Lindi decides that she no longer wishes to continue with the course. She stops attending lessons and ceases making monthly payments. Preston College has sent Lindi a letter of demand calling on her to pay one month’s fees in lieu of her having to give notice terminating the course.
Lindi’s parents have approached you for advice. Advise them using relevant authority (provisions of legislation and case law (if any)) on the following:
1. Whether a minor has the legal capacity to enter a contractual agreement under South African Law.
2. Whether Lindi can incur a contractual liability. Is there a binding contract between Lindi and Preston Computer College and is she to pay the amount required.
3. Whether Lindi’s parents can incur contractual liability on her behalf.
4. Whether a parent or guardian should have assisted Lindi with the contractual agreement.

Answers to Above Questions on Law of Persons

Answer 1: According to South African law, minors do not have adequate capacity to enter into binding contracts because a minor under the age of 18 is governed by the principle of contractual capacity which does not allow minors to enter into any binding contracts.

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