Definition of a ‘Person’ in law, by Anybrati Debnath at lexcliq.

  • Meaning and Kind of Person


The term ‘person’ is derived from the Latin word ‘persona’ which means a mask worn by actors playing different roles in a drama. In the same way, some legal persons 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.

  • Historical Background of the Concept of ‘Person’


The term ‘person’ and ‘personality as a historical evolution. In ancient Roman society, there was no problem withththth personality as the ‘family’ was the basic unit of the society and not the individual. There was a provision in Roman law that other institutions or group who had certain rights and duties were capable to exercise their legal rights through a representative.


Under Greek law, an animal or trees were tried in court for harm or death did to a human being. It can be said based on this practice that these objects were subject to duties even though they may not possesses rights. This is an element of the attribution of personality.


Under early English law, there are some incidences in which it had found that an animal or tress or inanimate objects had been tried in Court under law. The trees and animals were subject to duty but not rights. After 1846, this system has modified and it was made clear that animals or tresses are capable of possessing rights and duties; therefore, there is no question of personality.

  • Definition of ‘Person’


The term ‘person’ is derived from the Latin term ‘Persona’ which means those who are recognized by law as being capable of having legal rights and being bound by legal duties. In the words of Salmond: “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 is a man.” Salmond further explains that the extension of the conception of a personality beyond the class of human beings is one of the most noteworthy achievements of the legal imagination.


Persons can be classified into

 (a) natural person, and

 (b) legal or artificial or juristic person. 

  • Law of status


Law of status is the law concerning the natural, the domestic and the extra domestic status of man in a civilized society. The law of extra domestic status is the law that is concerned with matters and relations apart from those concerning the family. Thus this department of the law of status deals with the status of persons such as lunatics, aliens, deceased persons, lower animals etc.


These are persons who do not enjoy the status of legal personality but society has some duties towards them.


  • Conclusion


The foregoing analysis makes it abundantly clear that incorporation had great importance because it attributes legal personality to non-living entities such as companies, institutions etc. which help in determining their rights and duties. Clothed with legal personality, these non-living personalities can own, use and dispose of the party in their incorporated institutions are denied this advantage because their existence is not different from the members.


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