A legal person (Latin: persona ficta), (also artificial person, juridical person, juristic person, and body corporate, also commonly called a vehicle) has a legal name and has rights, protections, privileges, responsibilities, and liabilities under law, just as natural persons (humans) do. The concept of a legal person is a fundamental legal fiction. It is pertinent to the philosophy of law, as is essential to laws affecting a corporation (corporations law) (the law of business associations).
Legal personality allows one or more natural persons to act as a single entity (a composite person) for legal purposes. In many jurisdictions, legal personality allows such composite to be considered under law separately from its individual members or shareholders. They may sue and be sued, enter into contracts, incur debt, and have ownership over property. Entities with legal personality may also be subject to certain legal obligations, such as the payment of tax. An entity with legal personality may shield its shareholders from personal liability.
The concept of legal personality is not absolute. "Piercing the corporate veil" refers to looking at individual human agents involved in a corporate action or decision; this may result in a legal decision in which the rights or duties of a corporation are treated as the rights or liabilities of that corporation's shareholders or directors. Generally, legal persons do not have all the same rights as natural persons - for example, human rights or civil rights (including the right to freedom of speech, although the United States has become an exception in this regard).