Legal capacity (Austria)

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In Austrian law designated capacity , the ability to justify themselves by their own statements and to commit. The legal capacity is based on the age and mental state of the person concerned.

People under 7 years of age

Persons under 7 years of age are completely incapable of contracting (§ 865 and § 170 Paragraph 1 ABGB ). Exceptionally, however, according to the " pocket money paragraph " (Section 170, Paragraph 3 of the Austrian Civil Code) , they can conclude small, age-typical transactions in minor matters of daily life. These deals take effect retrospectively as soon as the child fulfills their obligation from the deal. For example, if a child buys and pays for a children's magazine for one euro, this transaction is already valid at this point in time - even if the child does not receive the children's magazine immediately.

Underage minors from 7 to 14 years of age

Between the ages of 7 and 14, minors are still underage (Section 21 of the Austrian Civil Code, Paragraph 2), but have limited legal capacity. In addition to business according to the "pocket money paragraph", you can also do business that brings you only legal advantages. Transactions that do not exclusively bring legal advantages to children and do not fall under the "pocket money paragraph" are pending ineffective until they are approved by their legal representative. (§ 865 ABGB)

For example, a minor can effectively accept a given remote-controlled car, but not a given dog, since keeping the dog would also impose obligations on the minor and the gift of the same goes beyond the pocket money paragraph. In order to effectively accept a dog as a gift, the consent of the legal representative is required.

Minors can also pay an existing debt independently. (§ 1421 ABGB)

Furthermore, minors between the ages of 7 and 14 can already act as deputies, as their limited legal capacity is sufficient. This allows them to make effective declarations of intent on transactions for someone who has given them power of attorney, which they could not effectively conclude for themselves. (§ 1018 ABGB)

Responsible minors from 14 to 18 years of age

Upon reaching the age of majority, i.e. at the age of 14, mature minors can undertake all services themselves, with the exception of teaching and training contracts. However, the legal representative can dissolve obligations for an important reason. (§ 171 ABGB)

In addition, they can dispose of income from their own acquisition as well as things that are given to them for free disposal. The limit here, however, is the threat to the satisfaction of their needs for life. (Section 170 (2) ABGB). If a risk to the same is recognizable, the contract that is binding on adults is temporarily ineffective, as is the case with minors (§ 865 ABGB).

Adults aged 18 and over

With the 18th birthday comes the age of majority and thus the unrestricted legal capacity . However, if the adult is unable to manage his or her own business due to a mental illness or a comparable impairment of the ability to make decisions, an adult representative can be considered. In adult representation, the legal capacity is not restricted and there are four pillars of representation.

International private law

The provisions of the ABGB on legal capacity are only applied to Austrians. The legal capacity of "a foreigner" is assessed according to his / her personal statute (§ 12 IPRG).

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