Why are people under the age of 18 called minors

General information on the conclusion of contracts by children and young people (legal capacity)

To better illustrate this topic, there is a Tabular overview of the legal capacity of children and adolescents also on oesterreich.gv.at.

Which transactions young people are allowed to conclude or whether they need the consent of their parents for this depends on whether they have limited legal capacity or full legal capacity.

Persons under 7 years of age (children)

Children under seven years of age are utterly incapacitatedi.e. they cannot do business or accept gifts. The so-called "Pocket money transactions" Dar: Children under seven years of age can make small purchases of daily life, which are usually made by children of this age, themselves.


  • Purchase of a sausage roll, cinema ticket, tram ticket
  • Buying candy
  • Joining a student association, etc.

Persons between 7 and 14 years of age (underage minors)

Between seven and 14 years is every young person limited legal capacity. That means that the youngster / the youngster "Pocket money transactions" (e.g. buying books or CDs in this age group) without parental consent.

If the young person enters into a transaction without the consent of their parents, which is not a mere "pocket money transaction" and which also obliges them (e.g. to pay the purchase price), this transaction is considered pending ineffective. This means that it is invalid, but can still be valid with the subsequent consent of the legal representative (usually both parents). Until this consent has been given, the contractual partner (e.g. moped dealer) cannot withdraw from the contract. However, he / she can request an explanation from the legal representative of the young person within a reasonable period of time. If the representative does not make a statement within the deadline or if he / she does not approve the transaction, it is invalid from the start - as if the contract had never been concluded. As a result, for example, the moped stays with the seller, but conversely the responsible minor does not have to pay the purchase price.


The purchase of a television set, a mountain bike or an MP3 player is not a small, everyday purchase and is also not common for underage minors. You can therefore only conclude such a contract with the consent of your legal representative.

Furthermore, an underage minor may Accept giftsif these are not associated with further obligations. When accepting gifts that involve obligations (e.g. a pet that needs to be looked after and fed, which also incurs costs), the consent of the parents is required.

Persons between 14 and 18 years of age (responsible minors)

Between 14 and 18 years every young person - since minors are usually not experienced in dealing with legal transactions - is also limited legal capacity, but is allowed to do more than young people between the ages of seven and 14.

The young person is now allowed to minor work take over (e.g. babysitting, doing small shopping for a sick neighbor for a fee, etc.). It is important that school performance, for example, does not suffer as a result. If so, the parents have the right to prohibit these activities.


Apprenticeship or other training contracts may only be concluded with the consent of the legal representative. More information can be found in the chapter "Teaching" also on oesterreich.gv.at.

Responsible minors are generally also allowed to use her Personal income (e.g. apprentice compensation) and stuffwho give them to free disposal have been provided (e.g. pocket money), freely dispose of and undertake. Young people in this age group are therefore allowed to make small purchases (e.g. a CD or magazines) themselves with their pocket money or birthday money. You can also place smaller orders yourself, for example to repair your bike. Such business must not, however, jeopardize the satisfaction of their needs in life. This is the case when the entire income from work is spent on buying a moped, for example. Parents' consent is required for a legal transaction such as buying a moped.

Teenagers are from 18 years of age fully legally competent, i.e. you can, among other things, conclude various contracts independently. When they reach the age of majority, adolescents become legally fully responsible - this means that parental custody ends with them. In addition, they can go through written Declaration Recognize as legally valid obligations from a contract that you concluded before reaching the age of majority (e.g. buying a moped at the age of 17). This "heals" originally ineffective contracts.

Further information on the subsequent recognition of purchase contracts from the age of majority can also be found on oesterreich.gv.at.

Information on the conclusion of rental contracts can be found in the chapter "Housing for young people".


In property matters, the parents need the approval of the guardianship court if they want to conclude certain legal transactions for the minor. Examples are:

  • Entering into a bill of exchange guarantee
  • Assumption of liability for a loan
  • Parents' maintenance agreements with regard to child support
  • Renting an apartment belonging to the minor for a longer period of time, etc.

Detailed information on the subject of "criminal liability of young people (ability to commit offenses)" can also be found on oesterreich.gv.at.

Related Links

Legal bases

Sections 21, 170, 171 and 865 General Civil Code (ABGB)

Last updated: February 5, 2021

Responsible for the content: oesterreich.gv.at-Redaktion