Children - At what age can I? PDF Print E-mail

The law considers the age of a child as an important factor in various situations. The Legal guide to age thresholds for children and young people (April 2011) outlines (among other things) the ages at which a child can act independently from his/her parents or guardians and also sets out various legal rules relevant to the particular ages of children.

Topics covered include:

  • At what age can children make decisions and act on their own without assistance from their parents?
  • What are the age thresholds for children to access social grants or housing subsidies?
  • At what age can a child sign a legal contract, be prosecuted for a crime, smoke or be detained in prison?

 

Click here to download: Legal Guide to Age Thresholds for Children

 

This Guide (April 2011 - Edition 5) is a product of the Children’s Institute, University of Cape Town.

 

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Latest News

 6 September 2018

Press Release - Supreme Court of Appeal asked to protect the identities of child victims, witnesses and offenders

On Friday, 7 September 2018, the Supreme Court of Appeal will hear a case dealing with the protection of the identities of child victims, witnesses and offenders. The case, initiated by the Centre for Child Law, aims to ensure that child victims of crime, previously not protected by the law, should not have their personal details published in any form of media. Furthermore, that all children involved in criminal cases, whether as victims, witnesses or offenders, should have ongoing protection even after they turn 18. 

This case started when Zephany Nurse discovered, at the age of 17 years and 9 months old, that she had been kidnapped as a baby. She noticed that the media said they would reveal her 'true' identity when she turned 18 years. As she did not want to have her identity revealed, she turned to the Centre for assistance. An urgent High Court application resulted in an order, granted in April 2015, which protected her identity – which remains protected until all appeals in this case are exhausted.

The Centre will argue that the identification of children's identities, before and after they turn 18 years, can have a catastrophic impact on their lives. In order for identity protection for children to be meaningful, it cannot abruptly end when they turn 18.

For more please see the press release below:

Press Release

 

 

Centre for Child Law