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PIERCING THE CORPORATE VEIL: AN INCURSION INTO THE JUDICIAL CONUNDRUM

Anthony O Nwafor

DOI: 10.22495/cbv11i3art11

Abstract

Once a company is incorporated, it enjoys, by the power of the law, a personality which is distinct from those of the incorporators. This invariably implies that those running the affairs of the company do not incur personal liability in the course of doing so. The same legal might which forms the basis for corporate existence also regulates its purpose to afford protection to those dealing with the company by ensuring that the controllers of those corporations do not use them to pursue improper personal agenda. The courts have shown the willingness to disregard the corporate entity and impose personal liabilities on the controllers when such improprieties occur. The paper examines the judicial authorities especially in South Africa and the United Kingdom. They reveal a significant level of inconsistencies in the exercise of this equitable power of the court. The paper further examines the recent legislative intervention in South Africa and argues that unless specific guidelines are provided by parliament on when the corporate veil could be pierced, the courts will continue to address this issue as a matter of judicial discretion and which is at the root of the inconsistent and conflicting judicial pronouncements in this vital area of corporate governance.

Keywords: Company, Juristic Person, Veil of Incorporation, Common Law, Statute, South Africa, United Kingdom

How to cite this paper: Nwafor, A. O. (2015). Piercing the corporate veil: An incursion into the judicial conundrum. Corporate Board: role, duties and composition, 11(3), 136-152. http://doi.org/10.22495/cbv11i3art11

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