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An explanation of Legal Personality
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  Reading :837   Foundation time:2011-5-14    Refresh time :2011-5-14  
 
   

Legal personality (also artificial personality, juridical personalty, and juristic personality) is the characteristic of a non-human entity regarded by law to have the status of a person.

A legal person (Latin: persona ficta), (also artificial person, juridical person, juristic person, and body corporate, also commonly called a vehicle) has a legal name and has rights, protections, privileges, responsibilities, and liabilities under law, just as natural persons (humans) do. The concept of a legal person is a fundamental legal fiction. It is pertinent to the philosophy of law, as is essential to laws affecting a corporation (corporations law) (the law of business associations).

Legal personality allows one or more natural persons to act as a single entity (a composite person) for legal purposes. In many jurisdictions, legal personality allows such composite to be considered under law separately from its individual members or shareholders. They may sue and be sued, enter into contracts, incur debt, and have ownership over property. Entities with legal personality may also be subject to certain legal obligations, such as the payment of tax. An entity with legal personality may shield its shareholders from personal liability.

The concept of legal personality is not absolute. "Piercing the corporate veil" refers to looking at individual human agents involved in a corporate action or decision; this may result in a legal decision in which the rights or duties of a corporation are treated as the rights or liabilities of that corporation's shareholders or directors. Generally, legal persons do not have all the same rights as natural persons - for example, human rights or civil rights (including the right to freedom of speech, although the United States has become an exception in this regard).

The concept of a legal person is now central to Western law in both common law and civil law countries, but it is also found in virtually every legal system

People's Republic of China

For a typical example of the concept of legal person in a civil law jurisdiction, under the General Principles of Civil Law of the People's Republic of China, "juristic persons are organs which possess the capacity for civil rights and the capacity for civil activity, and in accordance with the law, independently enjoy civil rights and undertake civil obligations." Note however that the term civil right means something altogether different in civil law jurisdictions than in common law jurisdictions.

 
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