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WHO MAY SUE FOR INJURIES DONE TO THE COMPANY

Dictum

Jenkins, L.J. in Edwards Vs Halliwell (1950) 2 ALL ER 1084 @ 1066, where His Lordship held inter alia: “The rule in Foss Vs Harbottle, as I understand it, comes to no more than this. First, the proper plaintiff in an action in respect of a wrong alleged to be done to a company or association of persons is prima facie the company or the association of persons itself. Secondly, where the alleged wrong is a transaction which might be made binding on the company or association and or all its members by a simple majority of the members, no individual member of the company is allowed to maintain an action in respect of that matter for the simple reason that if a mere majority of the company or association is in favour of what has been done, then cadit quaestio. Thus, the company or association is the proper plaintiff in all actions in respect of injuries done to it. No individual will be allowed to bring actions in respect of acts done to the company which could be ratified by a simple majority of its members. Hence the rule does not apply where the act complained of was ultra vires the company, or illegal or constituted a fraud on the minority and the wrongdoers are in the majority and in control of the company.”

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SOME FOREIGN CASES ON LIFTING COMPANY VEIL

In Littlewoods Stores Ltd v. I.B.C. (1969)1 W.L.R. 1241 Lord Denning M.R. said: “The doctrine laid down in Salomon’s case has to be watched very carefully. It has been supposed to cast a veil over the personality of a limited liability company through which the Court cannot see. But that is not true. The Court can and often do draw aside the veil. They can and often do pull the mask. They look to see what really lies behind. The legislature has shown the way in group accounts and the rest. And the Court would follow suit.”
The English case of Jones v. Lipman (1962)1 WLR 832 exemplifies the situations in which the corporate veil will be lifted when a company is used as a mere facade concealing the true facts, which essentially means it is formed to avoid pre-existing legal obligations.

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OBJECT CLAUSES OF A COMPANY IN ITS MEMORANDUM OF ASSOCIATION

The object clauses are no more than a list of the objects the company may lawfully carry out. They are certainly not objects that the company must execute. It is fairly common knowledge that most companies in drawing up the objects clauses of the memorandum of association cover a spectrum far wider than what they...

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THERE MUST BE EVIDENCE OF RATIFICATION OF PRE-INCORPORATION CONTRACT

Before the above provisions could apply, there must be evidence of ratification by the new company of contracts made before its formation. In the case on hand, there was no such evidence. Nor was it shown who, if any body had ratified the contract between the plaintiff/appellant and the 1st defendant. — Oguntade, JSC. Garuba...

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FRAUD LIFTS VEIL OF INCORPORATION

One of the occasions when the veil of incorporation will be lifted is when the Company is liable for fraud as in the instant case. – Galadima JSC. Alade v. Alic (2010) Was this dictum helpful? Yes 0 No 0...

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A COMPANY IS NOT BOUND BY A PRE-INCORPORATION CONTRACT

It is now a settled principle of company law that a company is not bound by a preincorporation contract being a contract entered into by parties when it was not in existence. No one can contract as agent of such a proposed company there being no principal in existence to bind. It is also settled...

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A COMPANY’S LEGAL PERSONALITY DIES AT THE DEATH OF THE COMPANY

A company is a legal person with legal capacity to sue or be sued. That legal personality and capacity continues until the company dies a legal death in the process, and as a result of winding up and dissolution. – Oputa, JSC. Intercontractors v. National Provident (1988) Was this dictum helpful? Yes 0 No 0...

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