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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 boundaries, ...
, 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 of a culturally established form of social relations such as kinship, ownersh ...

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 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 ...
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 personality, legal entity representing an association of people, whether Natural person, natural, Legal personality, legal or a mixture of both, with a specific objective. Company members share a common ...
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 ...
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 law. Scholars of jurisprudence seek to explain the nature of law in its most general form and provide a deeper understanding of legal reasoning, legal systems, La ...
'' (sometimes also a ''physical person''), and a non-human person is called a ''
juridical personA juridical person is a non-human 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 bei ...
'' (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 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 ...
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 The machinery of government (sometimes abbreviated as MoG) is the interconnected structures and processe ...
. 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 some 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 that is responsible for the oversight and administration of specific functions, such as an Administration ...
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 Justice, one of the four cardinal virtues, by Vitruvio Alberi, 1589–1590. Fresco, corner of the vault, studiolo of the Virgin of Mercy, Madonna of Mercy, P ...

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 adopte ...

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), it is a prerequisite for an
international organization ''International Organization'' is a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal that covers the entire field of international relations, international affairs. It was established in 1947 and is published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the ...
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 personal ...
. 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 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 of a culturally established form ...
. A juridical or artificial person ( la, persona ficta; also juristic person) has a
legal name A legal name is the 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 ...
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 law. Scholars of jurisprudence seek to explain the nature of law in its most general form and provide a deeper understanding of legal reasoning, legal systems, La ...
. The concept of a juridical person is a fundamental legal fiction. 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 reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, an ...
, 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 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 ...
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 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 en ...
s). They may sue and be sued, enter into contracts, incur
debt Debt is an obligation that requires one party, the debtor, to pay money or other agreed-upon value to another party, the creditor. Debt is a deferred payment, or series of payments, which differentiates it from an immediate purchase. The deb ...

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 Consumable, consume, alter, ...
. 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 The contemporary national legal systems are generally based on one of four basic systems: civil law, common law, statutory law Statutory law or statute law is written law passed by a body of legislature A legislature is a deliberative ass ...
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 person, legal entity consisting of a single ("sole") incorporated office, occupied by a single ("sole") natural person.
'', 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 and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. The current archbishop is Justin Welby ...
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 to act as a singl ...
" 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 under United Kingdom company law, some Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth jurisdictions, and the Republic of Ireland. It is a limited liability company wh ...
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 refers to the legal traditions of Western culture Western culture, sometimes equated with Western civilization, Occidental culture, the Western world, Western society, and European civilization, is the heritage of social norms, ...
in both common-law 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 in Russia">Federal subjects of Russia">federal subject in Russia, close to borders of Finland. Picture of Petrozavodsk, the capital of the ...
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 ...
s are bodies corporate created by statute or charter. A
corporation sole A corporation sole is a Legal person, legal entity consisting of a single ("sole") incorporated office, occupied by a single ("sole") natural person.
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 territories ...

The Crown
in the
Commonwealth realm A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state that has Elizabeth II as its monarch and head of state. Each realm functions as an independent state, equal with the other realms. In 1952, Elizabeth II was the monarch and head of state of seven ind ...
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 legislature, legislative authority that governs the legal entities of a city, State (polity), state, or country by way of consent. Typically, statutes command or prohibit something, or declare Public po ...

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 partnerA business partner is a commercial entity with which another commercial entity has some form of alliance. This relationship may be a contract A contract is a legally bin ...

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, 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 ...

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), often simply referred to as a union, is an organization of workers who have come together to achieve common goals, such as protecting the integrity of their trade, improving safety standards ...
s, unlimited companies,
trusts A trust is a legal relationship in which the legal title to property is entrusted to a person or legal entity with a fiduciary duty to hold and use it for another's benefit. In the Anglo-American common law, the party who entrusts the property ...
, and
fundsFunding is the act of providing resources to finance a need, program, or project. While this is usually in the form of money Image:National-Debt-Gillray.jpeg, In a 1786 James Gillray caricature, the plentiful money bags handed to King George III ...
.
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 b ...
,
private company limited by shares A private company limited by shares is a class of private limited company incorporated under the laws of English law, England and Wales, Northern Irish law, Northern Ireland, Scots law, Scotland, certain Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth co ...
, or
public limited company A public limited company (legally abbreviated to PLC or plc) is a type of public company under United Kingdom company law, some Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth jurisdictions, and the Republic of Ireland. It is a limited liability company wh ...
—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 that is represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign states as having a permanent population, defined territory, one government ...
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 organization, international organisation founded in the wake of World War II to uphold European Convention on Human Rights, human rights, democracy and the Law in Eur ...

Council of Europe
) and some other
international organization ''International Organization'' is a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal that covers the entire field of international relations, international affairs. It was established in 1947 and is published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the ...
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; l ...
, 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 state of the European Union, member states that are located primarily in Europe. Its members have a combined area of and an estimated total population of about 447million ...

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 Treaty, treaties which form the constitutional basis of the European Union (EU). The Treaty of Lisbon, which was signed by the Member ...
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 The North Island, also officially named Te Ika-a-Māui, is one of the two main islands of New Zealand, separated from the larger but much less populous South Island by the Cook Strai ...

Whanganui River
was granted legal personality in March 2017 under
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It consists of two main landmasses—the North Island () and the South Island ()—and more than 700 List of islands of New Zealand, smaller islands, coveri ...

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 (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous country, the List of countries and dependencies by area, seventh-largest ...

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 North India, the northern part of India. It is often referred to as the "Devbhumi" (literally "Land of the Gods") due to its religious significance ...

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, ancient Rome is Roman people, Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roman Kingdom (753 BC ...
: 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 Ju ...
. The doctrine has been attributed to
Pope Innocent IV Pope Innocent IV ( la, Innocentius IV; – 7 December 1254), born Sinibaldo Fieschi, was Bishop of Rome and as such head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, often referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian ...

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 the ...
. In
canon law Canon law (from grc, κανών, , a 'straight measuring rod, ruler') is a set of ordinances and regulations made by ecclesiastical jurisdiction, ecclesiastical authority (Church leadership), for the government of a Christian organization or churc ...
, 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 Repu ...
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 used to end or at least regulate the communion of a member of a congregation with other members of the religious institution who are in normal communion with each other. The purpose o ...
. 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, which is jurisdiction over the ''law'' involved in the ...
). 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) or tyre (British English) is a ring-shaped component that surrounds a Rim (wheel), wheel's rim to transfer a vehicle's load from the axle through the wheel to the ground and to provide Traction (engineering), tr ...

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 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 Civil and political rights are a class of rights Rights are law, legal, social, or ethics, ethical principles of Liberty, freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to pe ...
means something altogether different in civil law jurisdictions than in common law jurisdictions.


Germany

Article 19(3) of the
German Constitution The Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany (german: Grundgesetz für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland) is the constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a g ...
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 personality Corporate personality is a concept in Christian theology Christian theology is the theology of Christianity, Christian belief and practice. * help them better understand Christian tenets * make comparative religion, comparisons between Christia ...
,
body politic The body politic is a medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people ...

body politic
, charitable unions etc,"'' as well as trust estates,
deities A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena or entities that are not subject to the laws of nature. This term is attributed to non-physical entities, such as angel An angel is a supernatural ...

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) ''Quartz'' is a business-focused, privately-held English-language international news organization. It launched from New York City New York City (NYC), often simply called New York, is the List of United States cities by population, most po ...
, 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
legal duty A duty (from "due" meaning "that which is owing"; fro, deu, did, past participle of ''devoir''; la, debere, debitum, whence "debt") is a commitment or expectation to perform some action in general or if certain circumstances arise. A duty may ...
to act as " loco parentis" towards animals welfare like a parent has towards the minor children. A court while deciding the ''"
Animal Welfare Board of India The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), headquartered at Ballabhgarh in Haryana state, is a statutory advisory body advising the Government of India's Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying (Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairyi ...
vs Nagaraja"'' case in 2014 mandated that animals are also entitled to the fundamental right to freedom enshrined in the Article 21 of
Constitution of India The Constitution of India (IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation of Brahmic family, Indic scripts as employed by Sanskrit and related Indic lan ...

Constitution of India
i.e. right to life, personal liberty and the right to die with dignity (
passive euthanasia Euthanasia (from el, εὐθανασία; "good death": εὖ, ''eu''; "well" or "good" + θάνατος, ''thanatos''; "death") is the practice of intentionally ending life to relieve pain Pain is a distressing feeling often caused by int ...
). In another case, a court in
Uttarakhand Uttarakhand ( , or ; , lit. 'Northern Land'), formerly known as Uttaranchal ( ), is a state in North India, the northern part of India. It is often referred to as the "Devbhumi" (literally "Land of the Gods") due to its religious significance ...

Uttarakhand
state mandated that animals have the same rights as humans. In another case of cow-smuggling, the
Punjab and Haryana High Court Punjab (; ; ; ; also romanised Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and m ...
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 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 A deity or god is a supernatural being considered divinity, divine or sacred. The ''Oxford Dictionary of English'' defines deity as "a God (male deity), god or goddess (in a polytheistic religion)", or anything revered as divine. C. Scott Littlet ...

deity
(deity or god is a supernatural being considered divine or sacred) is also a ''"legal person"'' who can engage in legal cases through ''"
trustee Trustee (or the holding of a trusteeship) is a legal term {{Short pages monitor