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In
law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its bounda ...
, a legal person is any
person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason Reason is the capacity of consciously applying logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning Reason is ...

person
or 'thing' (less ambiguously, any legal entity) that can do the things a human person is usually able to do in law – such as enter into
contract A contract is a legally binding agreement that defines and governs the rights and duties between or among its parties Image:'Hip, Hip, Hurrah! Artist Festival at Skagen', by Peder Severin Krøyer (1888) Demisted with DXO PhotoLab Clearview ...

contract
s, sue and be sued, own property, and so on. The reason for the term "''legal'' person" is that some legal persons are not people:
companies A company, abbreviated as co., is a legal entity In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surround ...

companies
and
corporation A corporation is an organization—usually a group of people or a company—authorized by the State (polity), state to act as a single entity (a legal entity recognized by private and public law "born out of statute"; a legal person in legal ...

corporation
s are "persons" legally speaking (they can legally do most of the things an ordinary person can do), but they are clearly not people in the ordinary sense. There are therefore two kinds of legal entities: human and non-human. In law, a human person is called a ''
natural person In jurisprudence Jurisprudence, or legal theory, is the theoretical study of the propriety of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form ...
'' (sometimes also a ''physical person''), and a non-human person is called a ''
juridical personA juridical person is a non-human legal person, legal entity that is not a Natural person, single natural person but an organization recognized by law as a legal person such as a corporation, government agency, or NGO. Also known as artificial person ...
'' (sometimes also a ''juridic'', ''juristic'', ''artificial'', ''legal'', or ''fictitious person'', la, persona ficta). Juridical persons are entities such as corporations, firms (in some
jurisdiction Jurisdiction (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be i ...
s), and many
government agencies A government or state agency, sometimes an appointed commission, is a permanent or semi-permanent organization in the machinery of government that is responsible for the oversight and administration of specific functions, such as an Administration ...
. They are treated in law as if they were persons. While natural persons acquire legal personality "naturally", simply by being born (or before that, in jurisdictions), juridical persons must have legal personality conferred on them by some "unnatural", legal process, and it is for this reason that they are sometimes called "artificial" persons. In the most common case ( incorporating a business), legal personality is usually acquired by registration with a
government agency A government or state agency, sometimes an appointed commission, is a permanent or semi-permanent organization in the machinery of government The machinery of government (sometimes abbreviated as MoG) is the interconnected structures and proce ...
set up for the purpose. In other cases it may be by primary legislation: an example is the Charity Commission in the UK. The United Nations
Sustainable Development Goal 16 Sustainable Development Goal 16 (SDG 16 or Global Goal 16) is about "peace, justice and strong institutions." One of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or Global Goals are a collection of 17 interl ...

Sustainable Development Goal 16
advocates for the provision of legal identity for all, including birth registration by 2030 as part of the
2030 Agenda The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or Global Goals are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals designed to be a "blueprint to achieve a better and more Sustainability, sustainable future for all".United Nations (2017) Resolution adopt ...

2030 Agenda
. As legal personality is a prerequisite to
legal capacity The capacity of natural and juridical persons (legal person In law, a legal person is any person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-co ...
(the ability of any legal person to amend (enter into, transfer, etc.) rights and
obligations An obligation is a course of action that someone is required to take, whether legal Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. ...
), it is a prerequisite for an
international organization An international organization (also known as an international institution or intergovernmental organization) is a stable set of norms and rules meant to govern the behavior of states and other actors in the international system. Organizations ...
to be able to sign
international treaties A treaty is a formal legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally accepted in relation ...

international treaties
in its own
name A name is a term used for identification by an external observer. They can identify a class or category of things, or a single thing, either uniquely, or within a given context. The entity identified by a name is called its referent A referent ...
. The term "legal person" can be ambiguous because it is often used as a synonym of terms that refer ''only'' to non-human legal entities, specifically in contradistinction to "natural person".


Juridical persons

Artificial personality, juridical personality, or juristic personality is the characteristic of a non-living entity regarded by law as having the status of
personhood Personhood is the status of being a person. Defining personhood is a controversial topic in philosophy and law and is closely tied with legal and political concepts of citizenship, equality before the law, equality, and liberty. According to law, o ...
. A juridical or artificial person ( la, persona ficta; also juristic person) has a
legal name A legal name is the name that identifies a person for legal, administrative and other official purposes. A person's first legal name generally is the name of the person that was given for the purpose of Civil registry, registration of the birth and ...
and has certain rights, protections, privileges, responsibilities, and
liabilities Liability may refer to: Law * Legal liability, in both civil and criminal law ** Public liability, part of the law of tort which focuses on civil wrongs ** Product liability, the area of law in which manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, re ...
in law, similar to those of a
natural person In jurisprudence Jurisprudence, or legal theory, is the theoretical study of the propriety of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form ...
. The concept of a juridical person is a fundamental
legal fiction A legal fiction is a fact A fact is something that is true True most commonly refers to truth Truth is the property of being in accord with fact or reality.Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionarytruth 2005 In everyday language, truth i ...
. It is pertinent to the
philosophy of law Philosophy of law is a branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and ...
, as it is essential to laws affecting a corporation (
corporations law Corporate law (also known as business law or enterprise law or sometimes company law) is the body of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to f ...
). Juridical personhood allows one or more natural persons (''universitas personarum'') to act as a single entity (body corporate) for legal purposes. In many
jurisdiction Jurisdiction (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be i ...
s, artificial personality allows that entity to be considered under law separately from its individual members (for example in a company limited by shares, its
shareholder A shareholder (in the United States often referred to as stockholder) of a corporation is an individual or legal entity (such as another corporation, a body politic, a Trust law, trust or partnership) that is registered by the corporation as the ...
s). They may sue and be sued, enter into contracts, incur
debt Debt is an obligation that requires one party, the debtor A debtor or debitor is a legal entity (legal person) that owes a debt Debt is an obligation that requires one party, the debtor, to pay money or other agreed-upon value to ...

debt
, and own
property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner of property may have the right to consume, alter, share, r ...
. Entities with legal personality may also be subjected to certain legal obligations, such as the payment of taxes. An entity with legal personality may shield its members from
personal liability Personal may refer to: Aspects of persons' respective individualities * Privacy * Personality * Personal, personal advertisement, variety of classified advertisement used to find romance or friendship Companies * Personal, Inc., a Washington, D ...
. In some
common law jurisdictions In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law Case law, also used interchangeably with common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law create ...
a distinction is drawn between ''corporation aggregate'' (such as a company, which is composed of a number of members) and a ''
corporation sole A corporation sole is a legal entity In law, a legal person is any person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousness, and being a part ...
'', which is a public office of legal personality separated from the individual holding the office (these entities have separate legal personality). Historically most corporations sole were ecclesiastical in nature (for example, the office of the
Archbishop of Canterbury The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Cat ...
is a corporation sole), but a number of other public offices are now formed as corporations sole. The concept of juridical personality is not absolute. "
Piercing the corporate veil Piercing the corporate veil or lifting the corporate veil is a legal decision to treat the rights or duties of a corporation A corporation is an organization—usually a group of people or a company—authorized by the State (polity), state ...
" refers to looking at the individual natural persons acting as agents involved in a company action or decision; this may result in a legal decision in which the rights or duties of a corporation or
public limited company A public limited company (legally abbreviated to PLC or plc) is a type of public company A public company, publicly traded company, publicly held company, publicly listed company, or public limited company is a company whose ownership is or ...
are treated as the rights or liabilities of that corporation's members or
director Director may refer to: Literature * Director (magazine), ''Director'' (magazine), a British magazine * The Director (novel), ''The Director'' (novel), a 1971 novel by Henry Denker * The Director (play), ''The Director'' (play), a 2000 play by Nanc ...
s. The concept of a juridical person is now central to
Western law Western law comprises the legal traditions of Western culture Western culture, also known as Western civilization, Occidental culture, or Western society, is the heritage Heritage may refer to: History and society * In history History ( ...
in both
common-law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals A tribunal, generally, is any person or institution with authority to judge, adjudi ...
and civil-law countries, but it is also found in virtually every legal system.


Examples

Some examples of juridical persons include: *
Cooperative A cooperative (also known as co-operative, co-op, or coop) is "an autonomous The federal subject The federal subjects of Russia, also referred to as the subjects of the Russian Federation (russian: субъекты Российск ...
s (co-ops), business organization owned and
democratically Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, the people have the authority to choose their governing legislators. The decisions on who is consi ...

democratically
operated by a group of individuals for their mutual benefit *
Corporation A corporation is an organization—usually a group of people or a company—authorized by the State (polity), state to act as a single entity (a legal entity recognized by private and public law "born out of statute"; a legal person in legal ...

Corporation
s are bodies corporate created by statute or charter. A
corporation sole A corporation sole is a legal entity In law, a legal person is any person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousness, and being a part ...
is a corporation constituted by a single member, in a particular capacity, and that person's successors in the same capacity, in order to give them some legal benefit or advantage, particularly that of perpetuity, which a natural person could not have had. Examples are a religious officiant in that capacity, or
The Crown The Crown is the state (polity), state in all its aspects within the jurisprudence of the Commonwealth realms and their subdivisions (such as the Crown Dependencies, British Overseas Territories, overseas territories, Provinces and territorie ...

The Crown
in the
Commonwealth realm A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state A sovereign state is a polity, political entity represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign states as having a perma ...
s. A corporation aggregate is a corporation constituted by more than one member. ** Municipal corporations (municipalities) are "creatures of
statute A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislative A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) ...

statute
". Other organizations may be created by statute as legal persons, including European economic interest groupings (EEIGs). * Unincorporated associations, that is aggregates of two or more persons, are treated as juridical persons in some jurisdictions but not others. *
Partnership A partnership is an arrangement where parties, known as business partner A business partner is a commercial entity with which another commercial entity has some form of Business alliance, alliance. This relationship may be a contractual, exclus ...

Partnership
s, an aggregate of two or more persons to carry on a business in common for profit and created by agreement. Traditionally, partnerships did not have continuing legal personality, but many jurisdictions now treat them as having an independent legal personality. *
Companies A company, abbreviated as co., is a legal entity In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surround ...

Companies
are corporations – the term often refers to a business association that carries on an industrial enterprise, although companies may take other forms, such as
trade union A trade union (or a labor union in American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native ...
s, unlimited companies,
trusts A trust is a legal relationship in which the holder of a right (eg. title to a chattel) gives it to another person or entity who must keep and use it solely for another's benefit. In English common law English law is the common law legal sy ...
, and
funds Funding is the act of providing resources A resource is a source or supply from which a benefit is produced and that has some utility. Resources can broadly be classified upon their availability — they are classified into renewable and non-re ...
.
Limited liability companies A limited liability company (LLC) is the US-specific form of a private limited company A private limited company is any type of business entity in Privately held company, "private" ownership used in many jurisdictions, in contrast to a Pub ...
—be they a
private company limited by guarantee In British, Irish and Australian company law Corporate law (also known as business law or enterprise law or sometimes company law) is the body of law governing the rights, relations, and conduct of persons, companies, organizations and ...
,
private company limited by shares A private company limited by shares is a class of private limited company A private limited company is any type of business entity in Privately held company, "private" ownership used in many jurisdictions, in contrast to a Public company, ...
, or
public limited company A public limited company (legally abbreviated to PLC or plc) is a type of public company A public company, publicly traded company, publicly held company, publicly listed company, or public limited company is a company whose ownership is or ...
—are entities having certain characteristics of both a corporation and a partnership. Different types have a complex variety of advantages and disadvantages.Frisch D. (2011)
Commercial Law's Complexity
. ''George Mason Law Review''.
*
Sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized social relation, social relatio ...
s are legal persons. * In the
international legal system The international legal system is the foundation for the conduct of international relations. It is this system that regulates state actions under international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is t ...
, various organizations possess legal personality. These include
intergovernmental organizations An intergovernmental organization (IGO) or international organization is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member states''), or of other intergovernmental organizations. IGOs are established by a treaty that ...
(the United Nations, the
Council of Europe The Council of Europe (CoE; french: Conseil de l'Europe, ) is an international organisation ''International Organization'' is a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal that covers the entire field of international relations, international aff ...

Council of Europe
) and some other
international organization An international organization (also known as an international institution or intergovernmental organization) is a stable set of norms and rules meant to govern the behavior of states and other actors in the international system. Organizations ...
s (including the
Sovereign Military Order of Malta The Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM), officially the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta ( it, Sovrano Militare Ordine Ospedaliero di San Giovanni di Gerusalemme di Rodi e di Malta; ...
, a
religious order A religious order is a lineage of communities and organizations of people who live in some way set apart from society in accordance with their specific religious devotion, usually characterized by the principles of its founder's religious practice. ...
). * The
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
(EU) has legal personality since the
Lisbon Treaty The Treaty of Lisbon (initially known as the Reform Treaty) is an international agreement that amends the two treaties A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, als ...
entered into force on 1 December 2009. That the EU has legal personality is a prerequisite for the EU to join the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). However, in 2014, the EU decided not to be bound by the rulings of the
European Court of Human Rights European, or Europeans, may refer to: In general * ''European'', an adjective referring to something of, from, or related to Europe ** Ethnic groups in Europe ** Demographics of Europe ** European cuisine, the cuisines of Europe and other Western ...

European Court of Human Rights
. * Temples, in some legal systems, have separate legal personality. * The
Whanganui River The Whanganui River is a major river in the North Island of New Zealand. It is the country's third-longest river, and has special status owing to its importance to the region's Māori people. In March 2017 it became the world's second (after ...

Whanganui River
was granted legal personality in March 2017 under
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ''Aotearoa'' (; commonly pronounced by English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon Engl ...

New Zealand
law because the Whanganui Māori tribe regard the river as their ancestor. * Also, in March 2017, the High Court of Uttarakhand declared the
Ganges River The Ganges ( ) or Ganga ( , ) is a trans-boundary river of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, He ...

Ganges River
a legal "person" in a move that according to one newspaper, "could help in efforts to clean the pollution-choked rivers". As of 6 April 2017, the ruling has been commented on in
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, ...

India
n newspapers to be hard to enforce, with assertions that experts do not anticipate immediate benefits, that the ruling is "hardly game changing", that experts believe "any follow-up action is unlikely", and that the "judgment is deficient to the extent it acted without hearing others (in states outside
Uttarakhand Uttarakhand ( , or ; , lit. 'Northern Land'), formerly known as Uttaranchal ( ), is a state in the northern part of India. It is often referred to as the "Devbhumi" (literally "Land of the Gods") due to its religious significance and numerous ...

Uttarakhand
) who have stakes in the matter". Not all organizations have legal personality. For example, the board of directors of a corporation, legislature, or governmental agency typically are not legal persons in that they have no ability to exercise legal rights independent of the corporation or political body which they are a part of.


History

The concept of legal personhood for organizations of people is at least as old as
Ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a person who stud ...
: a variety of collegial institutions enjoyed the benefit under
Roman law Roman law is the law, legal system of ancient Rome, including the legal developments spanning over a thousand years of jurisprudence, from the Twelve Tables (c. 449 BC), to the ''Corpus Juris Civilis'' (AD 529) ordered by Eastern Roman emperor J ...
. The doctrine has been attributed to
Pope Innocent IV Pope Innocent IV ( la, Innocentius IV; – 7 December 1254), born Sinibaldo Fieschi, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 25 June 1243 to his death in 1254. Fieschi was born in Genoa and studied at the universities ...

Pope Innocent IV
, who seems at least to have helped spread the idea of ''persona ficta'' as it is called in
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...
. In
canon law Canon law (from grc, κανών, , a 'straight measuring rod, ruler A ruler, sometimes called a rule or line gauge, is a device used in geometry and technical drawing, as well as the engineering and construction industries, to measure dis ...
, the doctrine of '' persona ficta'' allowed monasteries to have a legal existence that was apart from the monks, simplifying the difficulty in balancing the need for such groups to have infrastructure though the monks took vows of personal poverty. Another effect of this was that, as a fictional person, a monastery could not be held guilty of
delict Delict (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Rep ...
due to not having a soul, helping to protect the organization from non-
contractual obligations A contract is a legally binding document between at least two parties that defines and governs the rights and duties of the parties to an agreement. A contract is legally enforceable because it meets the requirements and approval of the law. A ...
to surrounding communities. This effectively moved such liability to persons acting within the organization while protecting the structure itself, since persons were considered to have a soul and therefore capable of negligence and able to be
excommunicated Excommunication is an institutional act of religious censure A censure is an expression of strong disapproval or harsh criticism. In parliamentary procedure Parliamentary procedure is the accepted rules Rule or ruling may refer to: Hum ...
. In the common law tradition, only a person could possess legal rights. To allow them to function, the legal personality of a corporation was established to include five legal rights—the right to a common treasury or chest (including the right to own property), the right to a corporate seal (i.e., the right to make and sign contracts), the right to sue and be sued (to enforce contracts), the right to hire agents (employees) and the right to make by-laws (self-governance). Since the 19th century, legal personhood has been further construed to make it a citizen, resident, or domiciliary of a state (usually for purposes of
personal jurisdiction Personal jurisdiction is a court's jurisdiction over the ''parties'', as determined by the facts in evidence, which bind the parties to a lawsuit, as opposed to subject-matter jurisdiction Subject-matter jurisdiction (also called jurisdict ...
). In ''Louisville, C. & C.R. Co. v. Letson'', 2 How. 497, 558, 11 L.Ed. 353 (1844), the U.S. Supreme Court held that for the purposes of the case at hand, a corporation is "capable of being treated as a citizen of he State which created it as much as a natural person." Ten years later, they reaffirmed the result of Letson, though on the somewhat different theory that "those who use the corporate name, and exercise the faculties conferred by it," should be presumed conclusively to be citizens of the corporation's State of incorporation. Marshall v. Baltimore & Ohio R. Co., 16 How. 314, 329, 14 L.Ed. 953 (1854). These concepts have been codified by statute, as U.S. jurisdictional statutes specifically address the domicile of corporations.


American sample cases

* In ''U.S. v. The Cooper Corp.'', (1941) the court held that the United States government, as a juristic person, could sue under the
Sherman Act 200px, Sen. R–List of United States Senators from Ohio">Ohio Ohio is a U.S. state, state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern region of the United States. Of the List of states and territories of the United States, fifty states, ...
. Section 7 of the act granted the right to sue only to persons. The corporate defendant, which was accused of illegally conspiring and colluding to raise prices on
tire A tire (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native to the United States ...

tire
s, argued that the U.S. government didn't have power to enforce the act because the government wasn't a person. The court held that the term "person" includes the U.S. Government, and allowed the action against the collusive corporations to continue. * In ''Cook County v. U.S. ex rel Chandler'', (2003) the county was accused of violating a law which forbids "any person" from falsely obtaining research funds from the government. The county received a $5 million grant, but used it to conduct inappropriate tests on human subjects. The county argued that it could not be held liable because it was not a person. The court held that the county could be sued under the law as a legal person. * In ''Rowland v. California Men's Colony, Unit II Men's Advisory Council'', (1993) the court declined to extend certain rights to legal persons. The association of prisoners sought to proceed '' in forma pauperis.'' The court held that the right to sue ''in forma pauperis'' existed only for natural persons, not legal persons.


Rights and responsibilities


Brazil

The term juridical person ("pessoa jurídica" in
Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Portuguese language ** Portug ...

Portuguese
) is used in
legal science Legal science is one of the main components in the civil law tradition (after Roman law, canon law Canon law (from grc, κανών, , a 'straight measuring rod, ruler') is a set of ordinances and regulations made by ecclesiastical jurisdiction, ...
for designating an entity with rights and liabilities which also has legal personality. Its regulations are largely based on Brazil's Civil Code, where it is distinctly recognized and defined, among other normative documents. Brazilian law recognizes any association or abstract entity as a juridical person, but a registry is required through a Constitutional Document, with specifications depending on the category of Juridical Person and local law of state and city.


China

For a typical example of the concept of legal person in a civil law jurisdiction, under the General Principles of the Civil Law of the People's Republic of China, General Principles of Civil Law of the People's Republic of China, Chapter III, Article 36., "A legal person shall be an organization that has capacity for civil rights and capacity for civil conduct and independently enjoys civil rights and assumes civil obligations in accordance with the law." Note however that the term civil right means something altogether different in civil law jurisdictions than in common law jurisdictions.


Germany

Article 19(3) of the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany, German Constitution sets forth: "Fundamental rights shall also apply to domestic artificial persons insofar as the nature of such rights shall permit."


India

Indian law defines two types of "legal person", the human beings as well as certain non-human entities which are given the same legal judicial personality as human beings. The non-human entities given the "legal person" status by the law ''"have rights and co-relative duties; they can sue and be sued, can possess and transfer property"''. Since these non-human entities are ''"voiceless"'' they are legally represented ''"through guardians and representatives"'' to claim their legal rights and to fulfill their legal duties and responsibilities. Specific non-human entities given the status of ''"legal person"'' include ''"Corporate personhood, corporate personality, body politic, Charitable organization, charitable unions etc,"'' as well as Trust law, trust estates, deity, deities, temples, churches, mosques, hospitals, universities, colleges, banks, railways, municipalities, and gram panchayats (village councils), rivers, all animals and birds.Birds to holy rivers: A list of everything India considers “legal persons”
Quartz (publication), September 2019.


Corporates and trusts

In court cases regarding corporate, the shareholders are not responsible for the company's debts but the company itself being a "legal person" is liable to repay those debts or be sued for the non-repayment of debts.


Animal kingdom

In court cases regarding animals, the animals have the status of ''"legal person"'' and humans have the Duty#Legal duties, legal duty to act as "In loco parentis, loco parentis" towards animals welfare like a parent has towards the minor children. A court while deciding the ''"Animal Welfare Board of India vs Nagaraja"'' case in 2014 mandated that animals are also entitled to the Fundamental rights in India#Right to freedom, fundamental right to freedom enshrined in the Article 21 of Constitution of India i.e. right to life, personal liberty and the right to die, right to die with dignity (Euthanasia#Passive and active euthanasia, passive euthanasia). In another case, a court in
Uttarakhand Uttarakhand ( , or ; , lit. 'Northern Land'), formerly known as Uttaranchal ( ), is a state in the northern part of India. It is often referred to as the "Devbhumi" (literally "Land of the Gods") due to its religious significance and numerous ...

Uttarakhand
state mandated that animals have the same rights as humans. In another case of Cattle theft in India#Cattle smuggling in India, cow-smuggling, the Punjab and Haryana High Court mandated that ''"entire animal kingdom including avian and aquatic"'' species has a ''"distinct legal persona with corresponding rights, duties, and liabilities of a living person"'' and humans are ''"loco parentis"'' while laying out the norms for animal welfare, veterinary treatment, fodder and shelter, e.g. animal drawn carriages must not have more than four humans, and Working animal, load carrying animals must not be loaded beyond the specified limits and those limits must be halved when animals have to carry the load up a slope.


Religious deities

In court cases regarding religious entities, the deity (deity or god is a supernatural being considered divine or sacred) is also a ''"legal person"'' who can engage in legal cases through ''"trustees"'' or ''"Board of directors, managing board in charge of the temple"''. Supreme Court of India (SC), while deciding Ayodhya dispute#Title cases, Ayodhya case of Ram Janmabhoomi, decided in 2010 that the deity Rama in the specific temple was a "legal entity" entitled to be represented by own lawyer appointed by the trustees acting on behalf of the deity. Similarly, in 2018 SC decided that the deity Ayyappan is a ''"legal person"'' with ''"Fundamental rights in India#Right to privacy, the right to privacy"'' in the court case regarding the entry of women to Sabarimala shrine of Lord Ayyapan.


=Shebaitship

= Under the Indian law, the ''"shebaitship"'' is the property owned by the deity or idol as a "legal person". Humans appointed to act on behalf of deity are called the ''"shebait"''. A shebait acts as the guardian or custodian of deity to protect the right of deity and fulfill the legal duties of the deity. Shebait is similar to a trustee in case the deity or temple does have a legally registered trust or entity. Under the Hindu Law property gifted or offered as rituals or donations, etc absolutely belongs to the deity and not to the shebait. Case example are ''"Profulla Chrone Requitte vs Satya Chorone Requitte, AIR 1979 SC 1682 (1686): (1979) 3 SCC 409: (1979) 3 SCR 431. (ii)"'' and ''"Shambhu Charan Shukla vs Thakur Ladli Radha Chandra Madan Gopalji Maharaj, AIR 1985 SC 905 (909): (1985) 2 SCC 524: (1985) 3 SCR 372"''.shebaitship
legalcrystal.com.


Natural entities such as rivers

In court cases regarding natural entities, the Uttarakhand High Court, mandated that the river Ganges and Yamuna as well as all water bodies are ''"living entities"'' i.e. ''"legal person"'' and appointed three humans as trustees to protect the rights of rivers against the pollution caused by the humans, e.g. ''"pilgrims's bathing rituals"''.


Italy

In Italy trade unions have legal personality, as stated in Article 39, Paragraph 4 of the Italian Constitution, Constitution:


New Zealand

Section 28 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 provides: "... the provisions of this Bill of Rights apply, so far as practicable, for the benefit of all legal persons as well as for the benefit of all natural persons."


United States

In part based on the principle that legal persons are simply organizations of natural persons, and in part based on the history of statutory interpretation of the word "person", the US Supreme Court has repeatedly held that certain constitutional rights protect legal persons (Corporate personhood, such as corporations and other organizations). ''Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad'' is sometimes cited for this finding because the court reporter's comments included a statement the Chief Justice made before oral arguments began, telling the attorneys during pre-trial that "the court does not wish to hear argument on the question whether the provision in the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which forbids a State to deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, applies to these corporations. We are all of the opinion that it does." Later opinions interpreted these pre-argument comments as part of the legal decision. As a result, because of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, First Amendment, Congress may not make a law restricting the free speech of a corporation or a political action group or dictating the coverage of a local newspaper, and because of the Due Process Clause, a state government may not take the property of a corporation without using due process of law and providing just compensation. These protections apply to all legal entities, not just corporations. A prominent component of relevant case law is the Supreme Court of the United States, Supreme Court decision ''Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission'', which ruled unconstitutional certain restrictions on corporate campaign spending during elections.http://origin.www.supremecourt.gov/docket/08-205.htm


Popular culture

In Act II, Scene 1 of Gilbert and Sullivan's 1889 opera, ''The Gondoliers'', Giuseppe Palmieri (who serves, jointly with his brother Marco, as King of Barataria) requests that he and his brother be also recognized individually so that they might each receive individual portions of food as they have "two independent appetites". He is, however, turned down by the Court (made up of fellow Gondolieri) because the joint rule "... is a legal person, and legal person are solemn things."


Points of law

* ''Paul v. Virginia'' ("... in which the United States Supreme Court held that a corporation is not a citizen...") * ''Netscape Communications Corp. v. Konrad'' for what it means for two entities to be separate


See also

* Corporate personhood * Environmental personhood * European Convention on the Recognition of the Legal Personality of International Non-Governmental Organisations * Institution * List of United States Supreme Court cases, volume 118 * Natural person * Separate legal entity


References


Citations


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Books

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Journal articles

* * {{DEFAULTSORT:Legal Personality Legal entities, Legal entities (category) Legal fictions Corporate law Financial law Corporate personhood