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Under 18 岁以下

Minors (under 18 years of age) in England & Wales 成年

This guidance is for a minor in education as it is assumed that otherwise s/he is with an adult. Scotland comes under Scottish law, as indeed Northern Ireland too having its own legal system, and likewise the age of majority is 18 years old in both cases.

  • A person under 18 is a minor, a person 18 or above is an adult in law. A minor cannot do many things legally unless authorised, usually by a signed written letter or note, by a parent, a guardian, a school acting loco parentis or an adult acting as loco parentis . Loco parentis simply means a school or an adult may act in the absence of a parent as a parent would. A typical example of an adult acting loco parentis stituation is when a child goes to another child's home to play after school or to stay overnight. For a foreign student under 18 this situation happens when this student goes to stay at a weekend at the home of a student friend (with permission from a parent or a guardian). However the order of legal power in law is usually this: parent, guardian,  person or a legal person acting loco parentis. At a school, the law of education may state that a school has more power than that of a parent or a guardian for a limited range of school responsibilities. However a school acting loco parentis may not be more powerful in legal rights in certain situations, in particular, health matters except for matters of emergency health care where a parent or guardian is not available or contactable. Further information is found in Supporting pupils at school with medical conditons (first published 1 Sept 2014)
  • In the above a school, college or unversity is effectively represented by staff members, such persons must be empowered or authorised by their employer's educational and organisational governance system. It is easy to find out who is authorised as there is, or should be, a written document process where these persons are named. For example, a mathematics teacher who acts loco parentis in class is not authorised to take a student to a place (outside of school to doctor's, hospital) unless authorised (and) trained to do so.
  • A person acting loco parentis is not a substitute for a parent or a legal guardian in English law. For example, for the purpose of immigration for education a legal guardian can never be a school or any person loco parentis.
  • A parent and a guardian is a private arrangement between them and no third party may prevent this private arrangement in law. A guardian usually has more rights than that of a school staff acting loco parentis as a school by law, needs parental or guardian consent on many things. The most common position is that all forms are pre-printed which require a signature for a minor is signed for either by a parent or a guardian.
  • Contrary to Chinese businesses' information, espeically on web sites in the Chinese language, there is no immigration nor legal requirement to have a UK based guardian to come to study in UK. However for a minor entering higher education such as a university, it is generally good practice for these institutions to recommend that parents appoint a UK-based guardian for international students under 18. This good practice may be imposed as an admission requirement for some universities but not for all of them. This good practice means risk management for a university and a parent (and is not a legal nor immigration requirement). However a parent may consider paying for a local expert helper as three years or more in UK can expose a child, then a young adult, to big issues which need a trusted resolver to tackle all those important questions and issues with solutions. 
  • A guardian will be able to sign for bank, dentist, doctor forms. Even when a child comes of age on 18th birthday, s/he is unlikely to be familiar with the risks of the big wide world. The issues are rare however with 80,000+ Chinese students studying in UK, horrible stories are many. The reason is that once you are 18 plus you are an adult with a full range of responsibilities and accountability. First and foremost all commercial contracts are binding and the main loss is money. Therefore some local knowledge from a trusted British friend or relative is essential in some cases.

Minors (under 18 years of age) in China

A minior is also under 18 in China.