Cabinet approves proposal to lower age of majority to 18

08/13/2020 05:38 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, Aug. 13 (CNA) The Executive Yuan passed a proposed amendment to the Civil Code on Thursday to lower the legal age of majority to 18 from 20, and to set the engagement age at 17 and the marriage age at 18 for both men and women.

The current law states that males and females cannot marry before they turn 18 and 16, respectively, and they cannot be engaged before 17 and 15, respectively.

The proposed amendment would unify the legal age for marriage at 18 for both men and women, and the minimum age for engagement at 17 for both genders, according to Cabinet spokesman Ting Yi-ming (丁怡銘).

Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said that same day at a Cabinet meeting that there is a high degree of consensus among the people for a lowering of the legal age of majority to 18 to bring it into line with 110 countries around the world.

The current age of majority -- 20 years old -- was set 91 years ago and is no longer suitable for modern society, as the current education and maturity level of teenagers are quite different from the past, said Minister without Portfolio Lo Ping-chen (羅秉成).

The age of majority is set at 18 years old for criminal and administrative penalties, and at 20 years old in the Civil Code, Lo noted, adding that this could lead to differences in citizen's rights and responsibilities.

He also explained that the decision to raise the marriage age for females to 18 stems from concern that agreeing to the lower age limit might affect their right to study or to work in violation of international conventions.

Since the amendment would involve changes in 38 laws and be related to 14 government agencies, it will require at least two years before it can be put into effect, according to Lo.

(By Chen Chun-hua and Evelyn Kao)

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