by Freya Derby
At the age of 16, you experience the first major changes in the law that relate to you. From twelve to fifteen, you accumulate small alterations in your rights regarding when you can work, the films you can see and the consequences of any crimes you should happen to commit. However, unless signing your own passport (at 12) is important to you, most of us won’t really be interested, and as a consequence won’t notice, until we turn sixteen. You can now legally get married (with your parents' permission), but, even more excitingly, you gain access to a whole variety of new transports, confectionaries and beverages. This is not a comprehensive list, but here are some of the things that you can do once you turn sixteen:
1. Get married (with your parents' consent).
2. Join the army (as long as you have your parents' permission).
3. Get a licence and drive a moped.
4. Get a driving licence for an invalid carriage, if you’re disabled.
5. Drive an invalid carriage ( if you have the licence) which looks like a Reliant Robin but is designed specifically for people with physical disabilities. Although their safety is debatable, they’re allowed on normal roads like a car but are illegal on motorways.
6. Pilot a glider (also known as a sailplane) solo.
7. Get a National Insurance number, so you can get better jobs.
8. Leave home (without your parents' permission).
9. Apply for a passport by yourself.
10. …and change your name.
12. Join a trade union.
13. Be paid a higher minimum wage: £3.68 per hour. You don’t qualify for the highest minimum wage (£6.08) until you’re 21. If you become an apprentice, the minimum wage is £2.60 until you’re 19 and have already done one year of your apprenticeship.
14. Buy premium bonds or a lottery ticket (whichever you think is safer).
15. Play the football pools.
16. Buy a pet (although some shops have different policies).
17. Choose your GP.
18. Register as a blood donor (although you have to be at least 17 to give blood).
19. Give your consent to or refuse medical treatment, as long as you have the capacity to use and understand all relevant information. However, if this decision is taken to the courts and it could result in your death or severe permanent injury, they may chose to overrule it.
20. Drink beer, cider or wine with a meal in a restaurant, pub or hotel, as long as an adult (anyone over 18) buys it and is with you when you drink it.
21. Buy liqueur chocolates