The fundamental attribute of corporate personality, from which all other consequences flow if that the corporation is a legal entity distinct from its members.This doctrine has been established for business efficacy, necessity and convenience. In the doctrine of ‘Lifting the Corporate Veil’, the law goes behind the mask or veil of incorporation in order to determine the real person behind the mask of a company. It is one of the most widely used doctrines to decide when a shareholder or shareholders will be held liable for obligations of the corporation and continues to be the most litigated and most discussed doctrines in all of corporate law. Therefore, a study of the same through the lens of leading case laws and judgements as done by the authors would be highly beneficial.
The principle of veil of incorporation is a legal concept that separates the personality of a corporation from the personalities of its shareholders and protects them from being personally liable for the company’s debts and other obligations. While a company is a separate legal entity, the fact that it can only act through human agents that compose it, cannot be neglected. Since an artificial person is not capable of doing anything illegal or fraudulent, the façade of corporate personality might have to be removed to identify the persons who are really guilty. This is known as lifting of the corporate veil. Besides the statutory provisions for lifting the corporate veil, courts also do lift the corporate veil to see the real state of affairs. However, even though the legislature and the courts have in many cases now allowed the corporate veil to be lifted, it should be noted that the principle of veil of incorporation is still the rule and the instances of lifting or piercing the veil are the exceptions to this rule.
By Samridhi Arora, Amity University Editor’s Note: Corporate Veil is the principle in corporate law which states that company and its shareholders are two different identities independent of its existence . Piercing of corporate veil is a legal method of trying to go behind this veil. It is employed by the […]