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Mayson, French & Ryan on Company Law

Mayson, French & Ryan on Company Law (37th edn)

Derek French
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date: 03 February 2023

p. 985. Corporate personalitylocked

p. 985. Corporate personalitylocked

  • Derek French


This chapter deals with the legal personality of a company which is separate from its members, capable of owning property, entering into contracts and being a party to legal proceedings. It considers the case Salomon v A Salomon and Co Ltd [1897] AC 22, in which the House of Lords affirmed separate corporate personality by rejecting attempts, on behalf of creditors, to impose liability for a failed company’s debts on its controlling shareholder. The consequences of separate corporate personality are also discussed, particularly with respect to a company’s human rights (or personal rights). In addition, the chapter examines the process known as ‘piercing the corporate veil’ in relation to the evasion principle; how an artificial entity can have legal personality; and a number of particularly significant court cases. Finally, it looks at corporate law theory and considers whether companies are grammatically singular or plural.

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