Corporate Personhood and Liability 1897
Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward, Salomon v. A. Salomon & Co., Hardinge Stanley Giffard, 1st Earl of Halsbury (1823–1921)
The juridical entity, a body that exists solely because of the law, is one of the law’s numerous fictions. A corporation, for example, can negotiate, possess property, sue, and be sued purely on the basis of the legislation that constituted it. (In Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward, the Supreme Court declared that corporations had the same contract rights as natural individuals.)
Many firms functioned as partnerships prior to the formation of corporations. However, joint and several responsibility posed a problem: each member was responsible for the partnership’s whole debts and responsibilities, and the partnership may be held accountable for a partner’s personal debts.