The Age of Majority


The age of majority in the Republic of Ireland is 18 years.  Up until that age a person is described as a minor.  When a person turns 18 that person is then solely responsible for their own choices, actions and decisions and is no longer under the care of their parents or legal guardians.

Legal Consequences
The relevant legislation in this regard is The Age of Majority Act, 1985 which reduced the age of majority from 21 to 18.  There are a number of important legal consequences that follow up on reaching your 18thbirthday in Ireland. This is particularly important in the context of property transactions and wills.A person under the age of eighteen may not become the registered owner of real property such as a house or land and neither can a person under the age of 18 become the owner of real property bequeathed to them under the terms of a will. For this reason a trust must be used if property is being acquired or being left to a person under the age of 18.

The following is a list (which is not comprehensive) of those activities that you can engage in when youreach 18:

– Enter a legally binding contract;

– Make a will;

– Change your name by Deed Poll;

– Obtain Social Welfare payments in your own name to include jobseekers benefit,            jobseekers allowance, illness benefit;

– Sit on a Jury in Court;

– Register to vote;

– Stand for elections;

– age 18 Local elections
– age 21 National and European elections
– age 35 Presidential elections

– Get married (unless you have a Court Exemption Order allowing you to marry at an earlier age)

– Give blood;
– Buy cigarettes;
– Buy alcohol;
– Book a holiday or flight;
– Apply for a National Age Card;
– Buy a lotto ticket and enter a bookmakers to place a bet;
– Use a sunbed.

This list is not exhaustive but is intended as a reminder of   your rights and responsibilities on reaching the age of majority. It is important to remember if you are travelling abroad that different legal consequences may apply depending on the county that you are travelling to.

Be informed – know the law