Chapter 10 - Capacity and Legality: The Final Elements
that wholly executory contracts may be repudiated by minors serves the interest of
12. Does enrolling in a school, signing up for a Girl Scout troop, or joining a fraternity
create a contract between a minor and an organization? If so, what are the obligations
of the parties in the contract? Is the contract violable? If not, how do the schools and
clubs deal with the problem of the unenforceability of minors’ contractual
obligations? Have students investigate these questions by contacting the board
members of schools or the legal advisers or national offices of fraternities, sororities,
13. Consider whether minors or their parents may sign enforceable releases from liability.
In Rogers v. Donelson – Hermitage Chamber of Commerce, 807 S.W.2d 242 (Tenn.
Ct. App. 1990), the court ruled that while a parent may release the parent’s own cause
of action for a child’s injuries, the parent may not release the child’s cause of action.
14. Describe several examples of contracts and ask students to identify them as either
legal or illegal. When discussing illegal contracts, have students consider whether any
part of the contract is enforceable. Ask students their opinions about the consequences
of enforcing illegal contracts.
15. In his book Law in America, Lawrence Friedman, a noted legal scholar at Stanford
University, explains that, “Nowadays, we take it for granted that the main way of
punishing criminals is to clap them into some sort of prison. But this was, in fact, not
the general rule before well into the nineteenth century…Punishment then almost
never meant loss of freedom. Punishment was money (fines), physical pain
(whipping), shaming (sitting in stocks, for example), or in extreme case banishment
or death. The main idea was to hold the wrongdoer up to public obloquy. The
community played an important role in criminal justice. Public degradation would
force the wrongdoers to see the error of their ways, and help to integrate them back
into the community—a basic goal of the system.” Have students discuss whether the
way to prevent people from entering into contracts involving criminal activity or torts
might be to threaten to use one of the pre-nineteenth-century methods outlined above.
What merits does the old system have in light of the new system and vice versa? Is
there even any place for such an approach in today’s legal system? Explain.
16. Have students work in pairs to investigate local licensing requirements for various
businesses and professions. One member of the pair can interview business owners to
learn about the licensing process and their personal views on licensing. The other
member of the pair can find out about the requirements from local government
17. Make a list on the board of local traders and professions that are licensed by the state.
Discuss whether each license is for revenue or regulatory purposes. Also discuss the
reasons behind licensing these professions but not others.
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