Justifications for piercing the corporate veil

Master Thesis

2011

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University of Cape Town

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According to the decision in Salomon a company is recognised as a legal entity separate and distinct from its shareholders. Although this fundamental rule has had a considerable influence in company law worldwide, it cannot be absolute and, as such, must allow for exceptions where the courts may disregard the separate legal personality of the company. The general rule is that a court will pierce the corporate veil “only where special circumstances exist indicating that it is a mere façade concealing the true facts, so that the separate existence of the company is in some sense being abused or, at least, is not being maintained in the full sense, with the result that separates between the company and its members does not in fact exist. However the courts uniformly exercise significant discretion, and fail to offer a clear standard for veil piercing.”4 Besides company law, this research paper also considers other areas of law where this principle has been applied. These include labour law, criminal (corporate liability) and maritime law.
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Includes bibliographical references.

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