Police Questions about Ages
Laws in the United Kingdom set age limitations for participating in certain activities and privileges. This section lists the restrictive rules and regulations governed by how old you are.
Children from the Age of 5
- Must either attend school or get schooling through home education.
- Can watch a film rated as U or PG at a cinema if accompanied by an adult. The British Board of Film Classification issues film ratings for children.
- Can have a bank account held in their own name (or building society).
Children from the Age of 7
- Are allowed to withdraw money from a Post Office or savings account.
Children from the Age of 10
- May get held criminally responsible if they get caught breaking the law or carrying out criminal activities.
Youngsters from the Age of 12
- Can watch a film at a cinema 'unaccompanied' if the British Board of Film Classification certified the movie as a 12A.
Teenagers from the Age of 13
- Can start working (providing a local by-law allows it). Even so, the laws on employing children state that the work can only be for a restricted number of hours.
Teenagers from the Age of 14
Teenagers from the Age of 15
- Can see a film at a cinema if certified by the British Board of Film Classification as a 15 rating.
Young Adults from the Age of 16 Can...
- Finish school (providing they do so after the official school leaving date).
- Get a driving licence to ride a moped on public roads.
- Obtain a provisional category B entitlement on a driving licence (if receiving the Disability Living Allowance at the higher rate).
- Buy and keep pet animals.
- Drink beer, cider, or wine with a meal in a restaurant (a person over 18 years old must accompany them).
- Choose their own doctor.
- Get married if they have the consent of one parent.
- Change their name (e.g. name change by deed poll).
- Participate sexual activities.
- Play the National Lottery or sell National Lottery tickets.
- Claim social security benefits.
- Open a Cash ISA or buy Premium Bonds and hold them in their own name.
- Work on a full time basis.
- Sell scrap metal.
- Join a Trade Union.
- Join the armed forces (with parental consent). But, 16 year olds are not permitted to fight in a war zone.
- Make a 'privileged will' (if a serving member of the Armed Forces).
Young Adults from the Age of 17 Can...
Adults from the Age of 18 Years Old Can...
- Buy alcohol, cigarettes, tobacco, a lighter refill.
- Drink alcohol in a pub.
- Obtain a licence permit to sell alcohol.
- Buy fireworks.
- Buy an air rifle.
- Gamble money by placing a bet.
- Get married without the consent of their parents.
- Get a tattoo.
- Leave home without the consent of the parents or a guardian.
- Appear before an adult court.
- Sit on a jury.
- Vote or stand as a candidate in an election.
- Sue someone or get sued by another person or organisation.
- Watch a film at a cinema if the British Board of Film Classification of the movie is an 18.
- Hold a mortgage or buy land or property.
- Go abroad to perform professionally.
- Go to war.
- Make a Last Will and Testament or act as an executor of a will.
Adults from the Age of 21 Years Old Can...
- Adopt a child.
- Drive any mechanically propelled vehicle (providing they pass all relevant tests).
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Answers to Police Questions about Age Restrictions in the United Kingdom