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Corporations are legal entities that are created under the laws of a state designed to establish the entity as a separate legal entity having its own privileges and liabilities distinct from those of its members. There are many different forms of corporations, most of which are used to conduct business. Early corporations were established by charter (i.e. by an ad hoc act passed by a parliament or legislature). Most jurisdictions now allow the creation of new corporations through registration.


  • Corporation, n. An ingenious device for securing individual profit without individual responsibility.

The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904)[edit]

Quotes reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 48-50.
  • We ought not to encourage vexatious prosecutions, which tend to throw corporations into confusion.
  • The Court are bound to consider all the circumstances of the case, before they disturb the peace and quiet of any corporation.
  • That corporations are the creatures of the Crown must be universally admitted.
    • Lord Kenyon, C.J., King v. Ginever (1796), 6 T. R. 735.
  • The situation the Lord Mayor holds is the first officer of the first city in the world in point of commerce and riches, and everything that can constitute the magnificence of a city. He is a judicial officer, and a municipal officer too, and from these combined characters there are duties incumbent upon him, which by all the ties that can bind a man to the discharge of duty, he is bound to discharge. It stands at the head of his duties, next after protecting the religion which binds us to God, to govern that civil policy which binds government together, and prevents us from being a state of anarchy and confusion.
    • Lord Kenyon, Eaton's Case (1793), 22 How. St. Tr. 820.
  • We ought, as far as we can by law, to support the government of all societies and corporations, especially this of the city of London; and if the mayor and aldermen should not have power to punish offenders in a summary way, then farewell the government of the city.
    • Holt, C.J., Clark's Case (1696), 5 Mod. Rep. 320.
  • Corporations cannot commit treason, nor be outlawed, nor excommunicate, for they have no souls.
    • Edward Coke, Case of Sutton's Hospital (1612), 5 Rep. 303; 10 Rep. 32 b.
  • Cities are immortal.
    • Grotius, De Jure Belli et Pacis, lib. 2, cap. 9. See also 1st Inst. fol . 9 b. 3 Coke, 60 a.; 2 Bulstr. 233; 21 Edw. VI. f. 13.
  • A corporation can have no legal existence out of the boundaries of the sovereignty by which it is created.
    • Taney, C.J., Bank of Augusta v. Earle, 13 Peters' Sup. Court Rep. (U. S.) 588.
  • It is a fiction, a shade, a nonentity, but a reality for legal purposes. A corporation aggregate is only in abstracto—it is invisible, immortal, and rests only in intendment and consideration of the law.
    • Edward Coke, Case of Sutton's Hospital (1612), 5 Rep. 303; 10 Rep. 32 b.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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