Artificial Person – businesses, government agencies, other organizations – hav rights but not privileges or immunities


Not to be confused with a natural person.


1. As the term is used in the law, either an individual or an organization; that is, either a human woman, man, or child (a natural person), or a corporation or other artificial person.  Thus, depending upon the statutory or constitutional provision under consideration, a person may be, in addition to a human being or a corporation, a partnership, an association, a municipality, or a government, among other entities.  Only persons possess legal rights.  People whom the law recognizes as persons include aliens, illegitimate children, and minors.  Although unborn children are not persons within the meaning of the law, rights nonetheless attach to the unborn.  See life; personhood.  Also see abortion; wrongful birth; wrongful pregnancy.

2. Also in the language of the law, a party. [1]

(Black’s Law Tenth Ed., third definition)

3. An entity (such as a corporation) that is recognized by law as having most of the rights and duties of a’ human being.  *  In this sense, the term includes partnerships and other associations, whether incorporated or unincorporated. [2]

     Excerpt from John Salmond’s Jurisprudence (Glanville L. Williams ed., 10th ed. 1947):

     “So far as legal theory is concerned, a person is any being whom the law regards as capable of rights and duties.  Any being that is so capable is a person, whether a human being or not, and no being that is not so capable is a person, even though he be a man.  Persons are the substances of which rights and duties are the attributes. It is only in this respect that persons possess juridical significance, and this is the exclusive point of view from which personality receives legal recognition. [3]

     Excerpt from English Private Law (Peter Birks ed., 2000):

     “The word ‘person’ is now generally used in English to denote a human being, but the word is also used in a technical legal sense, to denote a subject of legal rights and duties.  English law recognizes two categories of persons in this legal sense: ‘natural persons‘ and ‘artificial persons.’  Natural persons are those animate beings which possess a capacity to own legal rights and to owe legal duties; artificial persons are sometimes also described as ‘legal’ or ‘juristic’ persons, but this usage can be confusing, as the latter terms are also used of both animate beings and inanimate entities, to denote the fact that they have an existence as legal actors, rather than the fact that they exist only in the legal, and not in the biological sphere. [4]

artificial person:

1. An entity, such as a corporation. created by law and given certain legal rights and duties of a human being; a being, real or imaginary, who for the purpose of legal reasoning is treated more or less as a human being.  *  An entity is a person for purposes of the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses but is not a citizen for purposes of the Privileges and Immunities Clauses in Article IV § 2 and in the Fourteenth Amendment. — aka fictitious person; juristic person; juridical person; legal person; moral person. Cf. LEGAL ENTITY. [2]

Types of Artificial Persons:

     Click any of the following titles to learn more, and find a list and definition for each type of the following artificial persons:

agency – a fiduciary relationship which arises when one person (a principal) manifests assent to another (an agent) that the agent will act on the principal’s behalf, subject to the principal’s control, and. the agent manifests assent or otherwise consents to do so.

organization – a body of persons formed to engage ina common activity or to pursue a common purpose.

corporation – an artificial, intangible entity acting as a single person distinct from the shareholders who own it and existing only in contemplation of law; operated by an association of persons who have the power, in accordance with the corporation’s constitution and bylaws, to contract, issue stock, and form lawsuits and legal defense in favor of the person.


  • private corporation – founded by and composed of private individuals principally for a nonpublic purpose (i.e. manufacturing, banking, railroad corporations (including charitable and religious corporations), whose stock is not traded on the stock market.
  •  public corporation – created by the state as an agency in the administration of civil government, and managed by a publicly appointed board.  The body of citizens is known as a body politic, and the public corporation and the body politic are collectively known as a body politic and corporate .  The corporation is under a social compact by which the whole people covenants with each citizen, and each citizen with the whole people, that all shall be governed by laws for the common good.
partnership – a voluntary association of two or more persons who jointly own and carry on a business for profit as co-owners.
association – an unincorporated collection of persons with no legal existence independent of its members; if it has sufficient corporate attributes (i.e. centralized management, continuity of existence, limited liability), it may be classified and taxed as a corporation.
  • interest group – an association of people who join together to try to influence popular opinion or government action.

special interest group – an organization that seeks to influence legislation or govern policy in favor of a particular interest or issue, especially by lobbying.— Abbr. SIG. — aka special interest.

  • political-action committee (PAC) – An organization formed by a special-interest group to raise and contribute money to the campaigns of political candidates who seem likely to promote its interests; a group formed by a business, union, or interest group to help raise money for politicians who support the group’s public-policy interests.
  • pressure group – an interest group or an organization that engages in a campaign to sway public opinion and change government policy.

Types of Body Politics:

village – a modest assemblage of houses and buildings for dwellings and businesses with a smaller population than a city; a municipal corporation in some states.

municipal corporation – a public corporation created for political purposes and endowed with political powers to be exercised for the public good in the administration of local civil government.

town – a center of population that is larger and more fully developed than a village, but that (traditionally speaking) is not incorporated as a city.


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[1]:  Ballantine’s Law Dictionary Legal Assistant Edition
by Jack Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Doctored by Jack G. Handler, J.D. © 1994 Delmar by Thomson Learning.  ISBN 0-8273-4874-6.

[2]: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black, Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-61300-4

[3]: John Salmond, Jurisprudence 318 (Glanville L. Williams ed., 10th ed. 1947).

[4]: 1 English Private Law § 3.18, at 142-43 (Peter Birks ed., 2000).


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For later use:

control person. (1958) Securities. Someone who has actual control of or Significant influence over the issuer of securities, as by directing corporate policy.  *  The control person is subject to many of the same requirements applicable to the sale of securities by the issuer. -— aka controlling person.

“(Tlhe question of who is a control person is highly factual and is not dependent Upon ownership of any specific percentage. For example, it has been held that someone owning eight percent of a company’s stock was not a control person . . . .” 1 Thomas Lee Hazen, Treatise on the Law of Securities Regulation § 4.24, at 279 (3d ed. 1995).


international person. Int’l law. An entity having a legal personality in international law; one who, being a subject of international law, enjoys rights,‘duties, and powers established in international law and has“ the ability to act on the international plane. ‘ ‘

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