Five-Year-Old Sent Bill After Missing Birthday Party

News: A five-year-old was sent a $25 'no-show' bill after missing a birthday party.

Published Jan 19, 2015

On 19 January 2015, the BBC reported a 5-year-old boy from Torpoint, England, was handed an invoice for $25 after he failed to show up to a classmate's birthday party:

A five-year-old was billed for failing to attend a friend's birthday party — resulting in threats of legal action.

Alex Nash, from Cornwall, was invited to the party just before Christmas.

An invoice for £15.95 was sent by his schoolfriend's mother Julie Lawrence, who said Alex's non-attendance left her out of pocket and his parents had her details to tell her he was not going.

Alex's father Derek said he had been told he would be taken to the small claims court for refusing to pay.

Alex's parents, from Torpoint, had accepted an invitation to the party at a dry ski slope in Plymouth, Devon, just before Christmas.

However, they realised their son was double-booked and due to spend time with his grandparents, which he did.

While the above-quoted story may seem too ridiculous to be real, it does appear to be factual. In addition to receiving coverage from credible publications such as the Plymouth Herald and the Telegraph, the story was confirmed by Derek Nash, who provided a photograph of the "child's party no show fee" invoice to the media:

The Plymouth Ski and Snowboard Centre, where the birthday party took place, also released a statement about the situation, saying it was an issue between two parents and it was not responsible for the invoice:

While it is possible this birthday party invoice may end up in small claims court, it is unlikely Alex Nash and his parents will have to fork over any cash. Clive Coleman, a legal correspondent for the BBC, observed Mrs. Lawrence would have to prove a legal contract had been created in order to collect her "no show fee":

It is all but impossible that Ms Lawrence will be able to recover the £15.95 party "no show fee".

Any claim would be on the basis that a contract had been created, which included a term that a "no show" fee would be charged.

However, for there to be a contract, there needs to be an intention to create legal relations. A child's party invitation would not create legal relations with either the child "guest" or its parents.

If it is being argued that the contract is with the child, it is inconceivable that a five-year-old would be seen by a court as capable of creating legal relations and entering into a contract with a "no show" charge.

It's amusing to imagine what a children's party invitation seeking to create a contract might say: "I, the 'first party', hereinafter referred to as the 'birthday boy', cordially invite you the 'second party', hereinafter referred to as 'my best friend', to the party of 'the first party'.

Last updated:   19 January 2015

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as back in 1994.

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