Gorton V Federal Commissioner Of Taxation

Gorton V Federal Commissioner Of Taxation

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Gorton V Federal Commissioner Of Taxation

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Gorton V Federal Commissioner Of Taxation

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Corporation Law introduce fundamental rule which states, company is considered as separate legal entity. In other words, company is distinct natural person in the eyes of law which is completely distinct from its members and directors. This legal entity has similar rights and duties which any other natural person has. It must be noted that in actual company is legal entity and not a natural person which means it is not possible for company to conduct its operations itself. It is the corporation which employs peoples and authorized them to perform some particular acts. Therefore, it becomes necessary to impose primary or equivalent liability on the corporation also for the acts committed by its accused employees (Gurunnay, n.d.).
For this purpose, Court develops identification principle in case Lennard’s Carrying Co Ltd v Asiatic Petroleum Co Ltd [1915] AC 705. In this case, Viscount Haldane LC stated:
Company does not have its own mind, and its directing will was imposed in the person acting on behalf of the company known as its agent, but in actual its real directing mind was the person who was the center of the personality of the corporation.
Lord Denning sated in case H.L. Bolton Company v. T.J. Graham & Sons that, company can be equated with the body of human. He further stated that, directors and mangers of the company who can be considered as directing mind and will was the brain and nervous system of the company.
After considering above facts, it is clear that company is also liable for the acts of its agents if such agents are the directing mind and will of the company.
Piercing the corporate veil is considered as legal decision, and in this Court determines the rights and liabilities of the corporation as the rights and liabilities of its members. There is fundamental rule that organization is separate legal entity which is distinct from its members and only responsible for the debts incur by the company. Countries adopted common law usually follows this principle but in exceptional cases lift the corporate veil to make the actual person liable.
Usually, in very rare and exceptional cases Court pierce the corporate veil. In case AGC (Investments) Limited v Commissioner of Taxation (Cth), Hill J stated that situations in which Court pierce the corporate veil are very circumscribed.
This doctrine was criticized as sacrifice elements for form. In case Gorton v Federal Commissioner of Taxation, Windeyer stated that this doctrine result the law in unreality and formalism. Usually it was argued that decision stated in case of Salomon that was principle of separate legal entity was considered as fundamental problem because House of Lords fail to provide the exact details about the situations in which Court must apply the principle of separate legal entity, situations in which this principle of separate legal entity was not applied and also those situations in which person refused to enforce the contract related to the corporate.
After considering above facts, it is clear those situations in which Court lift the corporate veil are very rare and usually includes cases in which dishonest intension of person is involved.
Gurunay, P. The Directing Mind and Will Test in Corporate Criminal
Liability. International Journal of Legal Insight. Volume 1(3). Pp- 105-109.
Lennard’s Carrying Co Ltd v Asiatic Petroleum Co Ltd [1915] AC 705.
HL Bolton (Engineering) Co Ltd v TJ Graham and Sons Ltd: CA 1957.
AGC (Investments) Limited v Commissioner of Taxation (Cth) (Unreported, Federal Court, Hill J, 22, February 1991).
Gorton v Federal Commissioner of Taxation (1965) 113 CLR 604 (Barwick CJ, Taylor and
Windeyer JJ).

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