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Mr Salomon owned 20,000 £1 shares, and his wife and five children owned one share each.Some years later the company went into liquidation, and Mr Salomon claimed to be entitled to be paid first as a secured debenture holder.He had not transferred the insurance policy to the company. After the sale, Macaura continued to insure the plantation in his own name. When Macaura attempted to claim on the policy, the company refused to pay.The issue was whether Macaura had an insurable interest at the time of the loss.Separate personality means that the artificial legal person, the company, can do almost everything a human person can do; it can make contracts, employ people, borrow and pay money, sue and be sued, among other things.

The Supreme Court observed: "It is true that from the juristic point of view, the company is a legal personality entirely distinct from its members and the company is capable of enjoying rights and being subjected to duties which are not the same as those enjoyed or borne by its members.

The ‘corporate veil’ surrounds the company of Murphy & Co Ltd and prevents outsiders challenging the operation of the company.

However, although the principle of separation is central to company law, there are a number of situations when the company and its members can be identified together and treated as the same.

It is quite common in Ireland for one person to have such a variety of roles and still be a different legal entity from the company. Lee formed his crop spraying business into a limited company in which he was director, shareholder and employee. Lee was self-employed and thus not covered by the legislation. Lee and the company he had formed were separate entities, and it was possible for Mr. The following case is similar to Salomon and Lee, but the principle of separate personality worked to the disadvantage of the plaintiff.

When he was killed in a flying accident, his widow sought social welfare compensation from the State, arguing that Mr. The defendant company was involved in legal proceedings but did not have enough money for legal representation.

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