What can I do at my age?

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AT WHAT AGE CAN I ...?

Access to records
Adoption
Alcohol
Armed Forces
ASBO
Babysitting
Changing your name
Child protection
Cinema
Civil partnership
Contract
Crime
Driving
Fireworks
Gambling
Jury duty
Lawyer
Leaving home
Marriage
Medical
Money
Passports
Pets
Piercings
Piloting an aeroplane
School
Sexual relationships
Smoking
Social networking
Standing for election
Tattoos
Travel
Voting
Work
Proving my age

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.

ISBN: 978-0-7559-5920-4

Access to records:

  • At 12 you are presumed to be sufficiently old and mature to:
  • Access personal records
  • Make a freedom of information request from a public authority

Adoption:

  • You can be adopted at any age from birth until you reach the age of 18
  • At 12, you have to be asked for your consent to your own adoption
  • At 16, if you have been adopted, you have a right to access your adoption records

Alcohol:

  • At 16, you can buy and consume beer, wine or cider with a meal in a restaurant, at the manager's discretion
  • At 18, you can buy alcohol in licensed premises and consume alcohol in a bar
  • If you are under 18, the police can confiscate alcohol from you if you possess alcohol in a public place

Armed Forces:

  • At 15 years and 9 months, you can apply to join the Armed Forces (Army, Navy and RAF)
    You will need your parent's consent until you are 18
  • You cannot train to be an officer until you are:
  • Army - from 17 years 9 months
  • Navy - from 17 years
  • Air Force - from 17 years 6 months
  • At 17 you can train as non-commissioned aircrew in the RAF

ASBO (Antisocial Behaviour Order):

  • At 12 you can be the subject of an Antisocial Behaviour Order (an ASBO)

Babysitting:

  • At 16, you can be held legally responsible for babysitting

Changing your name:

  • At 16 you can change your name officially without your parent's consent

Child protection:

  • You can be referred to a Children's Hearing on care and protection grounds at any age from birth

Cinema:

  • From birth, you can 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
  • Under 12 you can view a 12A film if you are accompanied by an adult, but you must be 12 or over to rent, buy or view a 12 certificate film
  • At 15 you can watch a 15 certificate film
  • At 18 you can view all films, including those rated at 18 and 18R

Civil partnership:

  • At 16, you can enter into a civil partnership

Contract:

  • At 16, you can 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

Crime:

  • At 8, you can be held responsible for any criminal actions
    You would normally be dealt with through the Children's Hearings System until you reach the age of 16
    If you were charged with murder, manslaughter or rape, you would likely be dealt with through the court system
  • At 16 you can be prosecuted in the District Court, Sheriff Court 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
  • At 16 you can be detained in a Young Offenders' Institution
  • At 21 you can be sent to an adult prison for detention

Driving:

  • At 16 you can hold a licence to drive a moped
  • At 17 you can hold a licence to drive a car, a small motorcycle or a tractor
  • At 18 you can hold a licence to drive a medium-sized goods vehicle
  • At 21 you can hold a licence to drive any vehicle
    Including large goods and passenger-carrying vehicles
  • At 21 you can supervise a learner driver
    Provided you have held a full licence for more than 3 years

Fireworks:

  • At 18, you can buy or possess fireworks

Gambling:

  • At 16 you can buy National Lottery tickets and bet on the football pools
  • At 18 you can place a bet

Jury duty:

  • At 18 (and until you are 65) you can be asked to serve as juror in both civil and criminal cases

Lawyer:

  • At 12 you are presumed to be sufficiently old and mature to instruct a solicitor in a civil (ie non-criminal) case
    Provided you have a general understanding of what it means to do so

Leaving home:

  • At 16, you can leave home without your parent or guardian's consent

Marriage:

  • At 16, you can get married and you do not need your parent's consent

Medical:

  • At 12 you can register as an organ donor without your parent's consent
  • At 16 you can consent to any medical, surgical or dental treatment
  • If you are under 16 you can consent to any medical, surgical or dental treatment
    If the medical practitioner treating you thinks that you can understand the nature and possible consequences of the proposed procedure or treatment
  • At 17 you can be a blood donor

Money:

  • From birth, you can have a bank or building society account
    It will usually be in your parent or guardian's name until you are 7
  • From birth, you can own Premium Bonds
    They will be held by your parent, grandparent, great-grandparent or guardian until you are 16
  • At 16 you can buy Premium Bonds on your own behalf
  • Children born after 1 September 2002 are entitled to receive a voucher from the Government to open a Child Trust Fund account
  • At 7 you can take money out of a National Savings account
  • At 7 you can buy and sell National Savings certificates
  • At 12 you can apply to the Child Support Agency for maintenance by an absent parent
  • At 18 you can apply for a credit card

Passports:

  • You can apply for a UK Passport from birth
    A parent with parental responsibilities and rights generally has to sign an application for a UK Passport by a child under the age of 16
  • At 16 you can apply for a UK Passport on your own behalf
  • If you are under 16 you can only apply for a 5-year passport
  • At 16 you can apply for a 10-year passport

Pets:

  • At 16 you can buy a pet

Piercings:

  • At 16 you can 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 the piercing

Piloting an aeroplane:

  • At 16 you can hold a licence to pilot a glider
  • At 17 you can hold a private pilot's licence for an aeroplane

School:

  • You can start attending pre-school education during the school term following your third birthday
  • If you will be 5 by the "appropriate latest date" (usually by end of following February), you can start school at the "school commencement date", which is normally the start of the Autumn term
  • If you are 16 between 1 March and 30 September you can leave school on 31 May of that year
  • If you are 16 between 1 October and the last day of February you can leave school at the start of the Christmas holidays in that school year

Sexual relationships:

  • At 16 you can consent to:
  • Lawful sexual intercourse

Smoking:

  • At 18 you can buy cigarettes

Social networking:

  • At 13 you can join a social networking site
    Like Bebo, MySpace or Facebook

Standing for election:

  • At 14 you can stand for election as:
  • A Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament
  • At 16 you can stand for election as:
  • A Community Councillor
    16 is the recommended minimum age at which you can stand for election as a Community Councillor
  • At 18 you can stand for election as:
  • A Member of your local council
  • An MP ( UK Parliament)
  • An MSP (Scottish Parliament)
  • At 21 you can stand for election as:
  • An MEP (European Parliament)

Tattoos:

  • At 18, you can get a tattoo

Travel:

  • Buses & Trains:
  • Under 5s travel free
  • At 5 you pay a child fare
  • At 16 you pay a full fare
    Unless you have a valid concession card
  • Flights:
  • Under 2s travel free
  • At 2 you pay a child fare on most flights
  • At 12 you pay a full fare on most flights

Voting:

  • At 14 you can vote in an election for:
  • A Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament
  • At 18 you can vote in an election for your:
  • Local councillor
  • MP ( UK Parliament)
  • MSP (Scottish Parliament)
  • MEP (European Parliament)

Work:

  • From birth you can be employed as a performer
  • At 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)
  • At 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
  • At 15 you can do light work as at aged 14 but:
  • On Saturdays or in school holidays for 8 hours per day
  • In school holidays for 35 hours per week
  • At 16 you can get a full-time job and pay National Insurance
  • At 16 you can get the National Minimum Wage
    At the rate for 16 and 17 year olds
  • At 18 you can generally get the National Minimum Wage
    At the rate for 18 to 21 year olds

Proving my age:

You can get a proof-of-age card issued under the UK's national PASS scheme. These cards use photo identification and carry the PASS logo in a hologram. You can get a card by applying to:

Citizencard
www.citizencard.com
contact@citizencard.com
0844 499 4688

Validate UK
www.validateuk.co.uk
info@validateuk.co.uk
01434 634996

Young Scot
www.youngscot.org
infoline@youngscot.org
0808 801 0338

Or seewww.homeoffice.gov.uk/comrace/identitycards/pass.html

For more information on this leaflet and on your legal rights contact:

cl@n childlaw
www.clanchildlaw.org
info@clanchildlaw.org
075 275 66682

Norton Park,
57 Albion Road,
Edinburgh EH7 5QY


cl@n childlaw is part of Community Law Advice Network, registered Scottish Charity No. SC039156