What can I do at my age?

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WHAT CAN I DO AT MY AGE?

From birth
From age 2
From age 3
From age 5
From age 7
From age 8
From age 12
From age 13
From age 14
From age 15
From age 16
From age 17
From age 18
From age 21

This booklet is intended as a guide and not an authoritative statement and interpretation of the law. The text in this booklet was provided by cl@n childlaw.

This booklet was issued on 31 March 2009. Since that date, it is possible that the law has changed. To check that any information is up to date, contact cl@n childlaw ( www.clanchildlaw.org) on 075 275 66682 or by email at info@clanchildlaw.org.

At any age from birth you can:

  • Be referred to a Children's Hearing on care and protection grounds
  • Hold a passport
  • Have a Bank/Building Society Savings Account
    Often in the name of a child's parent or guardian as trustee for the child, until the child is 7 or older
  • Own Premium Bonds
    Held for a child under 16 by a parent, grandparent, great-grandparent or guardian
  • Have a Child Trust Fund
    Children born after 1 September 2002 will receive a voucher worth at least £250 to open a Child Trust Fund account
  • Be employed as a performer
  • See a PG or U film
    U - Films which should be suitable for children aged 4 and over
    Uc - Films which are particularly suitable for pre-school children
    PG - Some scenes may be unsuitable for younger children, especially under 8

From age 2 you must:

  • Pay a child fare on most flights

From age 3 you can:

  • Start pre-school educationDuring the school term after you are 3

At age 5 you can:

  • Start school at "school commencement date"
    (Usually in August) if 5 by "appropriate latest date" (usually by end of following February)

From age 5 you must:

  • Pay a child fare on buses and trains

From age 7 you can:

  • Take money out of a National Savings account
  • Buy and sell National Savings certificates

From age 8 you can:

  • Be held responsible for crimes
    Usually dealt with through the Children's Hearings System until you are 16

From age 12 you can:

  • Consent to your own adoption
  • Make a will
  • See a 12A film, unaccompanied by an adult
    (Under 12s must be accompanied by an adult)
  • Rent or buy a 12 certificate film
  • Apply to the Child Support Agency for maintenance payments from an absent parent
  • Register as an organ donor
    Without parental consent

From age 12 you could:

  • Be the subject of an Antisocial Behaviour Order (An ASBO)

From age 12 you must:

  • Pay a full fare on most flights

From age 12 you will be presumed sufficiently old and mature to:

  • Express views about future arrangements for your care
  • Instruct a lawyer in a civil ( ie non-criminal) matter
  • Access personal records
  • Make a freedom of information request from a public authority

From age 13 you can:

  • Be employed occasionally by parents
    Doing light gardening or farming work subject to the local authority byelaws where you live
  • Be employed by other people
    Doing light work specified in, and subject to, the local authority byelaws where you live ( e.g. your local newspaper shop to do a paper round)
  • Join a social networking site
    Like Bebo, MySpace or Facebook

From age 14 you can:

  • Stand for election as:
  • A Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament
  • Vote in an election for:
  • A Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament

From age 14 you can be employed to do light work:

  • On weekdays or Sundays
    For 2 hours per day (but only 1 hour before school) between 7 am and 7 pm
  • On Saturdays or in school holidays
    For 5 hours per day
  • In school holidays
    For 25 hours per week
  • In school term time
    For 12 hours per week

From age 15 you can do light work as at 14 but:

  • On Saturdays or in school holidays
    For 8 hours per day
  • In school holidays
    For 35 hours per week

From age 15 you can:

  • See a 15 certificate film

From age 16 you can:

  • Leave school
    If you are 16 between 1 March and 30 September you can leave after 31 May of that year. If you are 16 between 1 October and the last day of February you can leave at the start of the Christmas holidays in that school year
  • Leave home
    Without your parent or guardian's consent
  • Get married
  • Enter into a civil partnership
  • Consent to lawful sexual intercourse
  • Get a full-time job and pay National Insurance
  • Get the National Minimum Wage
    At the rate for 16 and 17 year olds
  • Get a skin piercing, without parental consent
    Under 16s need to be accompanied by a person with parental rights and responsibilities, who gives written consent to a piercing
  • Apply for a 10-year passport
  • Be legally responsible for babysitting
  • Buy a pet
  • Enter into a legally-binding contract
    If you are under 16, you can also do this if the contract is usual for someone of your age and its terms are not unreasonable
  • Get access to adoption records
    If you are adopted
  • Record a change of name officially
    Without parental consent

From age 16 you could:

  • Be prosecuted in the District, Sheriff or High Court
    Under 16 you can be prosecuted in either the Sheriff Court or High Court, but only on the instructions of the Lord Advocate
  • Be sent to a Young Offenders' Institution

From age 16 you must:

  • Pay a full fare on buses and trains
    Unless you have a concession card

From age 16 you can:

  • Consume beer, wine or cider
    With a meal in a restaurant
  • Hold a licence to pilot a glider
  • Hold a licence to drive a moped
  • Buy National Lottery tickets and bet on the football pools
  • Buy Premium Bonds
  • Consent to medical treatment
    If you are under 16 you can also consent to medical treatment if you are capable of understanding the nature and possible consequences of the procedure and treatment
  • Join the Armed Forces
    Army, Navy and Air Force (most trades)
  • Not as an officer
  • Need parental consent (if under 18)
  • Can apply from 15 years 9 months
  • Stand for election as a Community Councillor:
    16 is the recommended minimum age at which you can stand for election as a Community Councillor

From age 17 you can:

  • Hold a licence to drive a car, small motorcycle or tractor
  • Hold a private pilot's licence for an aeroplane
  • Give blood
  • Train to be an officer in the Armed Forces:
  • Army from 17 years 9 months
  • Navy from 17 years
  • Air Force from 17 years 6 months
  • Train to be non-commissioned aircrew in the RAF

From age 18 you can:

  • Vote in an election for your:
  • Local councillor
  • MP ( UK Parliament)
  • MSP (Scottish Parliament)
  • MEP (European Parliament)

From age 18 you can:

  • Buy alcohol in licensed premises and consume alcohol in a bar
  • Get the National Minimum Wage
    At 18 you can generally get the National Minimum Wage at the rate for 18 to 21 year olds
  • Hold a basic commercial pilot's licence for an aeroplane
  • Hold a licence to drive a medium-sized goods vehicle
  • Stand for election as:
  • A local councillor
  • An MP ( UK Parliament)
  • An MSP (Scottish Parliament)
  • Serve as a juror
  • See any film
  • Hold a credit card
  • Buy cigarettes
  • Place a bet
  • Get tattooed
  • Buy or possess fireworks

From age 21 you can:

  • Hold a licence to drive any vehicle
    Including large goods and passenger-carrying vehicles
  • Supervise a learner driver
    If you have held a full driver's licence for over 3 years
  • Stand for election as an MEP (European Parliament)

From age 21 you could:

  • Be sent to adult prison