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disaffirmance, or by any action on his part which clearly shows his intention to disaffirm the contract. An infant is liable for his torts. An infant is

An infant is responsible for his negligence when he has arrived at years of discretion; the age of fourteen years is generally taken as the dividing line in the matter, although it is only presumptive evidence.



The statutes in the different states regulate the proceedings which must be had when suit is brought against an infant, and in order to obtain a valid judgment against the infant, all the requirements of the law must be clearly followed. In general, a guardian ad litem must be appointed for the infant, and service made both on the infant and the guardian ad litem. An infant may sue through “his next friend."

An infant is a favorite with the courts of law. All matters against him must be strictly proven and cannot be waived or admitted by the guardian or other representative of the infant. The court will also not allow the infant to be prejudiced by any omission or oversight on his own part. An infant does not waive his rights by failing to comply with the ordinary rules of practice required of adults by the Appellate Courts. The court will protect his rights regardless of any technicalities. An infant may also set up a defense for the first time in the Appellate Court.

Neither guardian nor next friend can, by their action, prejudice or waive any of the rights of any infant. They cannot compromise a claim, nor agree to a judgment against the infant.

1 For a further treatment of the liability of an infant on his contract,

see subject of Contracts.

The subject of the limitation of actions is entirely regulated by statute. Infants are generally expressly excepted from the operations of such statutes, but if not thus excepted, are bound thereby. If the statute of limitations has once begun to run it will not stop running because the right of action passes to an infant. In Illinois, an infant has two years after attaining his majority in which to bring an action which would otherwise be barred by the statute of limitations. Similar provisions are found in the statutes of many other states.



An infant is responsible for a crime committed by him when he is of sufficient intelligence to understand the nature of his act. Under the age of seven he is conclusively presumed incapable of committing crime; between the ages of seven and fourteen, he is presumed incapable, but this presumption may be still rebutted; above the age of fourteen he is presumed capable of committing a crime.





Infants will be allowed to testify in court when they have acquired sufficient intelligence to be able to understand the nature of an oath and the consequences of perjury. There are probably no cases where children have been allowed to testify under the age of four years.


The domicile of an infant will be that of his father, unless the father is dead or the custody of the child

Vol. IV.-18.

has been decreed to the mother, in which case the domicile of the mother will govern that of the child.

An infant cannot by his own act change his domicile, at least, unless his parents are dead or have abandoned him. Upon the abandonment of child by parent, the parent loses the right to fix the domicile of the child, and such domicile may be fixed either by the child himself or by the parties to whom his custody may be given.

The domicile of an adopted child will be that of his adopting parents.?



An infant cannot make a will, except that in some states they are authorized, after reaching a certain age, to make a will disposing of their personal property.

An infant has the right to recover for personal injuries received by himself, and the damages thus received will be held for his own use independent of the control of his parents.

The negligence of another person cannot be imputed to an infant so as to prevent his recovery from any person from whom he has received injuries.

Any person who is the owner of premises which are frequented by infants is obliged to use an extraordinary degree of care to render such premises safe for such infants.

The marriage of an infant does not affect his powers or liabilities, except that by marriage an infant is emancipated from the control of his parents and an infant husband becomes liable for necessaries furnished to his wife or children.

• For a further treatment of the

Domicile of Infants, see subject

of Conflict of Law, Vol. 12, Subject 39.

An infant may act as the agent, trustee, or representative of another, but cannot appoint agents or execute a power of attorney. An infant is not bound by the law of estoppel.

An infant has the power to indorse negotiable instruments payable to his order. An infant cannot hold any public office except a merely ministerial one.

The laws of the United States provide that no one can enlist in the army of the United States until they reach the age of sixteen, or without the consent of their parents until they reach the age of twenty-one years. When an infant enlists, be becomes subject to the rules and regulations of the army the same as an adult.

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