To have legal personality means to be capable of having legal rights and duties within a certain legal system, such as to enter into contracts, sue, and be sued. Legal personality is a prerequisite to legal capacity, the ability of any legal person to amend (enter into, transfer, etc.) rights and obligations.
Legal persons (lat. persona iuris) are of two kinds: natural persons – people – and juridical persons (also called juristic or artificial or fictitious persons, lat. persona ficta) – groups of people, such as corporations, which are treated by law as if they were persons. While people acquire legal personhood when they are born, judicial persons do so when they are incorporated (registered) in accordance with law.
A sole proprietorship, also known as the sole trader or simply a proprietorship, is a type of business entity that is owned and run by one individual and in which there is no legal distinction between the owner and the business.
The owner receives all profits (subject to taxation specific to the business) and has unlimited responsibility for all losses and debts. Every asset of the business is owned by the proprietor and all debts of the business are the proprietor's. It is a "sole" proprietorship in contrast with partnerships. A sole proprietor may use a trade name or business name other than his or her legal name.
A business corporation is a for-profit firm that is incorporated or registered under the corporate or company law of a state. The four defining characteristics of the modern corporation are:
In many developed countries outside of the English speaking world, company boards are appointed as representatives of both shareholders and employees to "codetermine" company strategy. Corporate law is often divided into corporate governance (which concerns the various power relations within a corporation) and corporate finance (which concerns the rules on how capital is used).
According to the Office for National Statistics, sole proprietors represented 23.8% of all UK enterprise in 2010. Of that number, more than half a million sole traders were operating via the PAYE or VAT system alone. Sole traders are a distinct legal entity, operating as one type of UK business structure. In the event of financial problems affecting the business, they are subject to different rules to those that govern companies.
Sole trader insolvency occurs when the business cannot meet financial obligations. It may be that bills cannot be paid on time, leading to debts which eventually attract legal action by creditors. Insolvency does not automatically equate to bankruptcy; Definitions of insolvency are provided within the 1986 Insolvency Act. Cash flow insolvency occurs when a business cannot meet its credit obligations as they fall due. Balance sheet insolvency occurs when the businesses’ liabilities exceed its assets. According to Business Link there are a number of factors that can lead to sole trader insolvency. These can include late invoicing for goods or services, accepting orders that exceed its financial capacity to deliver, failure to recover debts, excess inventory and unsuitable credit arrangements.
A business entity is a commercial, corporate and/or other institution that is formed and administered as per commercial law in order to engage in business activities, usually the sale of a product or a service. There are many types of business entities defined in the legal systems of various countries. These include corporations, cooperatives, partnerships, sole traders, limited liability company and other specifically labelled types of entities. Some of these types are listed below, by country. For guidance, approximate equivalents in the company law of English-speaking countries are given in most cases, e.g.
However, the regulations governing particular types of entity, even those described as roughly equivalent, differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
Commercial law, also known as business law, is the body of law that applies to the rights, relations, and conduct of persons and businesses engaged in commerce, merchandising, trade, and sales. It is often considered to be a branch of civil law and deals with issues of both private law and public law.
Commercial law includes within its compass such titles as principal and agent; carriage by land and sea; merchant shipping; guarantee; marine, fire, life, and accident insurance; bills of exchange and partnership. It can also be understood to regulate corporate contracts, hiring practices, and the manufacture and sales of consumer goods. Many countries have adopted civil codes that contain comprehensive statements of their commercial law.