I feel https://travel.stackexchange.com/q/134011/4188 should have been asked here so I am doing it.

To travel with a discounted Youth Pass, you must be aged from 12 up to and including 27 on the start date of the Eurail Pass.

Is there a legal definition of what "age" is here? Some people in the linked Q&A insist it is based on birthdays but I can't find anything to back that up. In other words, if I was born on Feb 31, how old I am on Feb 30 legally? (nonexisting days are deliberate to avoid the discussion on me doxxing myself)

  • Are you specifically focusing on "common law age" here? – Michael Harvey Mar 19 at 17:19
  • @MichaelHarvey probably not, since most of the EU does not have "common law." – phoog Mar 19 at 17:20
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    I am wondering why the OP refuses to believe that a person reaches age X on their Xth birthday, that day being the Xth anniversary of their birth. – Michael Harvey Mar 19 at 17:26
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    @MichaelHarvey I don't think OP refuses to believe that; he's just asking whether there is a legally defined method for calculating age, and, if there is, for the legal basis of that definition. I don't see anything in the question that suggests that he would refuse to accept the method you describe or any other particular method; it's just a technical question about how the law works. Consider the hypothetical of court action concerning the terms of the Eurail Youth Pass: how would the court decide whether a person falls within the given age range on the start date of the pass? – phoog Mar 19 at 18:00
  • @MichaelHarvey more specifically: suppose all parties agree that a person was born on day B and that the person's pass started on day P, but they disagree as to whether the person's age on P fell within the range. What arguments could be advanced on either side to support their position, depending on the elapsed time between B and P? How would a judge likely rule on those arguments? – phoog Mar 19 at 18:07

In both common law countries and in civil law countries, words are given their plain meaning for legal purposes, unless there is an express definition to the contrary is provided. And, in Europe, the plain meaning is unambiguous and is what the plain language that you quote says. (The meaning would be ambiguous in the Korean language, or regarding a horse, in contrast.)

While there are times when there are age groupings that aren't the plain meaning (e.g. eligibility for youth sports league divisions, school enrollment), it isn't usually stated so plainly. For example, a sports team might have a U10 division which has a defined meaning, but is unlikely to say "for children under age 10" when it really means "for children under age 10 as of the first day of the season".

  • And what is the "plain meaning" of age for people born on February 29? – chx Mar 20 at 5:10
  • @chx The number of years they've been alive, rounded down, just like it does for somebody born on any other day. – David Richerby Mar 20 at 12:33
  • @DavidRicherby how do you calculate the number of years? On which day did someone born on the 29th of February 2016 reach the age of three years? February 28th? March 1st? – phoog Mar 20 at 13:13
  • @phoog 1st March. On 28th February 2017, they wouldn't yet be one year old, so why would they be three on 28th February 2019? – David Richerby Mar 20 at 13:45
  • @DavidRicherby but see New Zealand's Land Transport (Driver Licensing) Rule 1999, at 2(2): "For the purposes of this rule, in a year that is not a leap year, birthdays and other dates that would otherwise occur on 29 February are deemed to occur on 28 February." So on 28th February 2017 they would be a year old for the purposes of that rule. More to the point, what's the basis for your assertion that "on 28th February 2017, they wouldn't yet be one year old" in the general case, or for the purposes of Eurail? – phoog Mar 20 at 14:58

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