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Company Law - Essay Example

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The landmark and widely recited case of Salomon v Salomon & Co Ltd1 needs no detailed explanation; suffice it to say that from it was borne the concept of corporate personality. Mr. Salomon’s circumstances indeed inspired such aptly phrased statements as ‘the company is ex…
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Company Law

Fundamentally, the House of Lords thus embedded the separation of the corporate personality from its members and it became its own entity, rendering it capable of suing and being sued; of entering into contracts;4 of owning property and of making profits and losses in its own name.5 The final element established was the widely famous advantages of limited liability enjoyed by shareholders, limited only to the unpaid amount of their shares. These principles have been referred to a reused in countless cases; Lord Templeman himself described the dicta in Salomon as an ‘unyielding rock’6 and it is now embodied in the Companies Act 2006.7
As is the case with most fundamental principles following a single landmark case, a broad debate has been alive since the decision. Indeed, the courts have been faced with circumstances in which exceptions to Salomon have been necessary and indeed allowed. Thus, one is faced with a fundamental principle, deemed to apply broadly, yet inevitably the court has managed to manoeuvre around the Solomon rules in order to make it more flexible. But is this really flexibility, or an undesired and confusing method of applying the rules simply whenever the court deems fit or not? This topic is linked to clarity – if one can arrive at a clear set of circumstances under which the corporate veil will not be lifted, then one can arrive at the conclusion that the Salomon decision is safely applicable. If these circumstances are not evident, then it seems that the courts apply it or not at whim, and the Salomon case is at the mercy of the court and its view of whether the veil should be lifted in the particular circumstances or not. The specifics of these circumstances are affected by the two different views surrounding the consequences of separate legal personality. The narrow view - as that contained in the Companies Acts - holds ... Read More
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