legal entity representing an association of people, whether natural, legal or a mixture of both, with a specific objective

Companies are business organizations. A company is an association or collection of individual real persons and/or other companies, who each provide some form of capital. This group has a common purpose or focus and an aim of gaining profits. This collection, group or association of persons can be made to exist in law and then a company is itself considered a "legal person". The name company arose because, at least originally, it represented or was owned by more than one real or legal person.


  • Good companies will meet needs; great companies will create markets.
    • Philip Kotler, cited in: Stuart Crainer (2002), The 75 Greatest Management Decisions Ever Made, p. 37
  • Even people within systems don't often recognize what whole-system goal they are serving. "To make profits", most corporations would say, but that's just a rule, a necessary condition to stay in the game. What is the point of the game? To grow, to increase market share, to bring the world (customers, suppliers, regulators) more and more under the control of the corporation, so that its operations becomes ever more shielded from uncertainty.
Quotes reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 38-39.
  • It appears to me that the atmosphere of the temple of Justice is polluted by the presence of such things as these companies.
    • James, L.J., Wilson v. Church (1879), L. R. 13 C. D. 44.
  • A company is perfectly responsible in every sense.
    • Pearson, J., Dyke v. Stephens (1885), L. R. 30 C. D. 191.
  • It is a very lamentable state of things, but I see no help for it. The money in such cases is gone—gone by mismanagement always, often by fraud and jobbery, and by the time that such questions come before the Courts it is a mere suggestion upon whom the loss shall fall. It is rarely borne by the persons whose ignorance, mismanagement, or dishonesty has caused the loss, as they are almost always without means, and have generally speculated as badly for themselves as for those who have put them in office. I see no help for it but in that which appears to be a plant of slow growth, caution on the part of persons liable to be affected by the ruin of these societies.
    • Wills, J., In re Companies Acts, Ex parte Watson (1888), L. R. 21 Q. B. 308.
  • In matters where a company is not restrained by Parliament they have a right to make reasonable regulations; but it will always be a question whether their regulations are reasonable or not.
  • The office of director … a man ought not to fill without qualification.
    • Lord Selborne, Brown's Case (1873), L. R. 9 C. App. 102, 106.
  • The director is really a watch-dog, and the watch-dog has no right without the knowledge of his master to take a sop from a possible wolf.
    • Bowen, L.J., In re North Australian Territory Co. (1891), L. J. Rep. 61 C. D. 135.
  • In their desire to check dishonest and reckless trading Courts must be careful not to put tighter fetters on companies than the Legislature has authorised.
    • Lindley, J., Verner v. General and Commercial Investment Trust (1894), L. R. 2 Ch. 267.
  • I do not wish in any way to depart from the principle that a wrongdoing director, whether he be morally or legally wrong, should be made liable for the highest amount which could have been obtained from the property wrongly taken by him while it was in his hands.
    • Webster, M.R., Shaw v. Holland (1900), L. R. 2 C. D.; C A. [1900], p. 310.
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