Legal age for drinking alcohol

| 01/09/2016

What is the legal drinking age in Cayman at a private home? In the UK it is 5; 16 for beer, wine or perry (alcoholic beverage made from pears) if ordered with a meal in a licensed premises; and 18 for everything else at a bar/pub/restaurant. As a lot of the laws are based on the UK, are they the same?

Auntie’s answer: This seems an appropriate question to tackle right before the weekend. First I feel I need to address your point about 5 year olds being allowed to drink in the UK. Technically, that is correct, based on the Children Act 1908, which says it is illegal to give an alcoholic drink to a child UNDER 5 except under medical supervision in an emergency. The idea was that parents could use alcohol only as an anaesthetic in case of a severe injury.

The other age limits are also correct in the UK, but British Common Law only takes precedence here if there are no relevant Cayman laws in place.

For those of us who like to keep things simple, there is a law on alcohol consumption in Cayman and it is very straightforward: the drinking age is 18. There are no other categories, as there are in the UK, having to do with other ages and where you can drink, or when and where you can purchase alcohol.


Category: Ask Auntie

Comments (10)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Surely the 18 year age limit only applies to consuming alcohol in a licensed establishment or public area?

  2. Anonymous says:

    There is no such thing as “British Common Law” and in any event the references were to statutes in England which are definitionally not common law.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Sorry. That one doesn’t hold water. There’s a French kid at my son’s university who drinks like a fish and is always trying to get the other under age students to drink. Definitely not moderation…

    • Anonymous says:

      Doesn’t mean it is legal. Underage drinking is prevalent is many countries around the world. So your child’s French friend underage drinking while illegal is not surprising, especially at university.

  4. Anonymous says:

    In the state of Victoria & Western Australia, minors were allowed to drink alcohol if it is given to them by anyone on private property, like at a party. The law was changed in Vic 2011 which now requires parental permission to be given to any adult serving alcohol to minors.
    Growing up we regally had wine with our dinner and beer shandys around the BBQ since about age 7.
    I regally offer my two kids a glass of wine with dinner, Most of the time they say no.
    I’d rather they had a wine than a soda. Wine has lots of proven benefits. Soda has two. Obesity & Diabetes, both rampant in Cayman.

    Most of the states allow you to go to a restaurant or bar and have a beer or glass of wine with a meal provided you are with your parents or guardian.
    You are also allowed to go to a pub with your friends and have a meal but no alcohol.

    In Scotland I think you can go to a pub at 16 and have a beer with your meal with no adult supervision.

    Time to update the laws here instead of the draconian right wing christian regulations we currently have.

  5. Anonymous says:

    So if your kid is sick in the uk and under 5 that is also legal, maybe those stories of putting a nip of brandy in a baby’s bottle to help them sleep is true. We should ask the uk lawyer who drove the mustang and is now in Northwood if that’s when his problem started.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Say wha? 5 year old drinking alcohol?

    • Anonymous says:

      In many countries, especially European, children are given red wine with meals. It is routine, thought to strengthen the blood.

      • Anonymous says:

        And causes no issues at all, with young people in France so accustomed to the concept of drinking in moderation that binge drinking on becoming an adult (common elsewhere) is almost non existent.

        • Cheese and Garlic Face says:

          I am French, and I can assure you, I am drunk all zee time!