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Meaning and definition of Person

Meaning and definition of person

The term ‘person’ is derived from Latin word ‘persona’ which means a mask worn by actors playing different roles in a drama. In modern days it has been used in a sense of a living person capable of having rights and duties. Now it has been used in different senses in different disciplines. In the philosophical and moral sense the term has been used to mean the rational quality of human being. In law it has a wide meaning. It means not only human beings but also associations as well. Law personifies some real thing and treats it as a legal person. This personification both theoretically and practically clarifies thought and expression. There are human beings who are not persons in legal sense such as outlaws and slaves in early times. In the same way there are legal persons who are not human beings such as corporations, companies, trade unions; institutions like universities, hospitals are examples of artificial personality recognized by law in the modern age. Hence, the person is an important category of concept in legal theory, particularly business and corporate laws have extensively used the concept of person for protection as well as imposing the liability.

Salmond – ” A person is any being whom the law regards as capable of rights and bound by legal duties.”

Savigny defines the term person as the subject or bearer of a right.

According to Gray ” A person is an entity to which rights and duties may be attributed.”

According to Austin, the term person includes physical or natural person including every being which can be deemed human.

Kinds of Person

There are two kinds of person in Jurisprudence. They are as follows:

  1. Natural Person
  2. Legal Person

Natural person

A natural person is a human being possessing natural personality. According to Holland, a natural person is a human being as is regarded by the law as a natural person is an actual human being, which is different from an “artificial person,” which is a distinction under the law to establish whether a person is acting or appearing as himself, acting or appearing on behalf of a business or other entity. This is because a legal or artificial person is not a person at all, but is instead a collective of people that is being considered as one single entity for the purposes of a legal action. For example, a natural person is different from a legal person, which might be a company, a trust, a partnership, or some other group.

Features of natural person

  • Born alive
  • Living human being
  • Capable of having rights and duties

Legal persons are real or imaginary beings to whom personality is attributed by law by way of fiction where it does not exist in fact. Juristic persons are also defined as those things, mass of property, group of human beings or an institution upon whom the law has conferred a legal status and who are in the eye of law capable of having rights and duties as natural persons.

Law attributes by legal fiction a personality of some real thing. A fictitious thing is that which does not exist in fact but which is deemed to exist in the eye of law. Juristic persons come into existence when there is in existence a thing, a mass of property, an institution or a group of persons and the law attributes to them the character of a person. This may be done as a result of an act of the sovereign or by a general rule prescribed by the government. Example : Company or corporation, idol etc.

Features of legal person

  • Created by natural person
  • Capable of having limited right and duties
  • Non-living human being
Natural PersonLegal Person
1. Natural Person is a living human being possessing natural personality.1. Legal Person is an artificial or imaginary being to whom personality is attributed by law by way of fiction.
2. Natural person is an actual person in the eye of law.2. Legal person is an imaginary person in the eye of law.
3. The life of natural person is uncertain.3. The life of legal person is certain.
4. Natural person always represent himself/herself.4. Legal person is always represented by natural person.
5. Natural person is not allowed to do the things which is prohibited by law.5. Legal person is allowed to do only the things which is allowed by law.
6. Unborn child, dead man and lower animals, idiot etc are not considered as natural persons.6. In law, idols,
corporations, companies, etc. are treated as legal persons.
7. Sex, birth and reproduction is possible.7. Sex, birth and reproduction is not possible.
8. Natural Person can enjoy fundamental rights 8. Legal person cannot enjoy fundamental rights.
9. Natural Person can create legal person.9. Legal. Person cannot create natural person.
10. Natural Person is self controlled.10. Legal Person is controlled by natural person.

Read this also : Meaning and rights and duties

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Anish Kumar Tiwari
Anish Kumar Tiwari
Anish Kumar Tiwari is the Editor-in-Chief and SEO Expert at Law Scholars Nepal who is continuously publishing law related information and legal knowledge with the aim of increasing legal awareness in Nepal.
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