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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 economic fate of a corporation, like that of other business enterprises, is ultimately controlled by individual consumers. But most consumers may be no more interested in taking on management responsibility than stockholders are. Nor is it enough that those consumers who don’t want to be bothered don’t have to be. The very existence of enhanced powers for non-management individuals to have a say in the running of a corporation would force other consumers and stockholders to either take time to represent their own views and interests in this process or risk having people with other agendas over-ride their interests and interfere with the management of the enterprise, without these outsiders having to pay any price for being wrong.
    • Thomas Sowell, Basic Economics, 4th ed. (2010), Ch. 7. Big Business and Government

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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