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Persons – Dimensions of Modern Legal Personality

In all perspectives, all human beings are persons and in legal terms, a being who possesses rights and obligations and liabilities is a person. The concept of legal personalities is always an issue of discussion. The rights or legal responsibility of entities such as corporations that cannot be described by a single person. A modern legal personality is an artificial creation by law. Let us discuss the legal theory associated with it.

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Persons – Dimensions of modern Legal Personality

To elaborate on the concept of modern legal personality, we have to provide its different dimensions. The dimensions of modern legal personality explain nature, perspective, and the categories of modern legal personality. Some of these theories are:

1.Fiction Theory – by Von Savigny, Salmond, Coke, Blackstone, and Holland: 

As per this theory, the personality of a corporation is different from that of its members. So any change in the membership does not affect the existence of the corporation. It is important to identify clearly the element of legal fiction involved in this process. A company in law is different from its shareholders or members. The company may become bankrupt, but its members may remain rich.

2.Concession Theory:

This theory is concerned with the tyranny of a State. It presumes that a corporation as a legal person has great value because it is recognized by the State or by the law. As per this theory, a juristic person is solely a concession or creation of the state.

3. Group Personality Theory or Realist Sociological Theory:

The more profound of this theory was Johannes Althusius and carried forward by Otto Van Gierke. This group of theorists supposed that every collective group has a real mind, a real will and a real power of action. A corporation has a real existence, irrespective of the fact whether it is conceded by the State or not.

Gierke stated that the existence of a corporation is real and not based on any fiction.  It is a psychological and not a physical actuality. He further stated that the law has no power to create an entity but solely has the right to identify or not to identify an entity.

A corporation from the realist perspective is a social creature while a human is considered as a physical creature. But, Horace Gray denied the existence of a collective will.  He called it a figment.  He said that to get rid of the fiction of an attributed by saying that corporation has a real general will, is to derive out one fiction by another.

4. The Bracket Theory or the Symbolist Theory:

This theory was propounded by Rudolph Ritter von Jhering (also Ihering). According to Jhering, the conception of corporate personality is important and is only an economic device by which we can simplify the task of coordinating legal affairs. Hence, when necessary, it is focused that the law should look behind the entity to discover the real state of affairs. This is also the same as the concept of the lifting of the corporate veil.

legal theory

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5. Purpose Theory or the theory of Zweck Vermogen:

The supporters of this theory are Ernst Immanuel Bekker and Alois von Brinz. This theory is also quite the same as fiction theory. It focuses that only human beings can be a person and have rights. This theory also believed that a legal person is no person at all but solely a “subjectless” property bound for a particular purpose. There is ownership but without an owner. So a juristic person is not formulating round a group of persons but based on an object and purpose.

6. Hohfeld’s Theory:

He stated that legal persons are creations of arbitrary rules of procedure. He believed that human beings alone are capable of having rights and duties and any group to which the law ascribes legal personality is only a procedure for working out the legal rights and legal affairs and making them as human beings.

7. Kelsen’s Theory of Legal Personality:

He believed that there is no differentiation between the legal personality of a company and that of an individual. Personality in the juristic term is merely a technical personification of a complex of norms and assigning complexes of rights and duties.

Solved Example on Legal Theory

Concession theory is an offspring of the Fiction Theory. Elaborate it.

Answer:

Concession theory is usually considered as an offspring of the Fiction Theory because both the theories claim that the corporation within the state has no legal personality except as is acknowledged by the State. Nonetheless, it is clear that concession theory is indifferent to the question of the reality of a corporation in as much as it focuses only on the source from which the legal power of the corporation is originated.

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