cRc Beth Din

cRc Beth Din News

Do Batei Din (Jewish Courts) recognize corporations and the related limitations on liability?

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Generally, Dayanim at the Beth Din treat corporations much like they are treated under secular law. Jewish law might not specifically recognize the existence of an independent entity with its own liability such as a corporation. Nevertheless, if you do business with a corporation, you are usually assumed to be following common business practice, and in the United States, limitations on liability are common business practice. Also, corporations would be effective under Jewish law according to some understandings of Dina D’Malchusa Dina (literally, “the law of the government is the law”).

Please note that even under secular law, corporations do not always shield individuals from liability. If, for example, the president of a company guarantees a deal with his own assets, then his personal guarantee would make him personally liable. Also, sometimes it is possible to “pierce the corporate veil.” This means that a corporation cannot just be a front. If it turns out that someone has a corporation that they use just like their personal bank account, putting money in and taking it out freely, they demonstrate that the corporation is not independent, and they are not protected by the corporation from personal liability. The details of exactly when this applies are beyond the scope of this guide.