Corporate Rights and Personhood

Discussions of the rights of corporations can be divided into two overlapping topics: first, discussion of the current legal rights of corporations, and, second, discussion of what rights corporations ought to have. The latter is an ethical debate, the former a legal one. Legal discussion includes issues in common, statutory, constitutional, and treaty law.

Personhood and the Legal Rights of Corporations

The legal rights of corporations are what the law says they are. Although this varies from country to country, the central principle in countries influenced by Anglo-American law is that corporations are persons for legal purposes (legal persons). This legal fiction derives originally from common law. Both thorough scholarly histories such as Horwitz and more popular presentations such as Nace emphasize that court decisions rather than ...

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