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Competent: Definition, Example and Related Terms

What does it mean to be Competent ?

Being 'Competent' means having the necessary skills, knowledge, or abilities to do something successfully. It's like being good enough at something to get the job done right. In the world of contract law, 'Competent' has a very specific meaning. It refers to a person or a company that has the legal capacity to enter into a contract. This means they understand what they're doing and the consequences of their actions. They must be of sound mind and of a certain age (usually 18 or older).

Here's something interesting: If a person or company is found to be 'Incompetent', they can't legally enter into a contract. This could be due to a variety of reasons, such as mental incapacity or being underage. If a contract is entered into with an 'Incompetent' party, it could be declared null and void. That means it's as if the contract never existed in the first place!


  • Scenario Description
    Signing a Mobile Phone Contract A 20-year-old who understands the terms and conditions of the contract and agrees to pay monthly for the phone service is considered 'Competent'.
    Starting a New Job A person who understands the job requirements and agrees to the terms of employment in the contract is 'Competent'.
    Renting a Car A person who is of legal driving age and understands the rental agreement is 'Competent' to enter into the contract.