Levy, Re, ex p Walton,1881 (17) Ch.D 746 and R. vs. Norfolk County Court, 1891 (60) LJ QB 379

Scope of Legal Fiction
Legal fiction is something more than a rebuttable presumption and less than absolute presumption. Still confusing? Good! because that is how money is made in the legal profession.

We are citizens and real people with right to own property sue for it and be sued. That is a fact as a fact and in law. Corporations are juristic entities. Corporations can own property, sue or be sued is not a fact but in law it is an assumed fact hence a legal fiction.

In one of the earliest known cases James, L.J in Levy, Re, ex p Walton, 1881 (17) Ch.D746 had observed:
“when a statute enacts that something shall be deemed to have been done, which in fact and in truth was not done, court is entitled and bound to ascertain for what purposes and between what persons the statutory fiction is to be resorted to. After ascertaining the purpose full effect must be given to the statutory fiction and it should be carried to its logical conclusion and to that end it would be proper and even necessary to assume all those facts on which alone the fiction can operate.
Cave, J. Explained further in R. vs. Norfolk County Court, 1891 (60) LJ QB 379:
“When a thing is to be “deemed” something else, it is to be treated as that something else with the attendant consequences, but it is not something else.”
The above leading case are frequently referred to and relied by courts in common wealth to determine the scope of legal fiction.

US Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 130 S. Ct. 876 – Supreme Court 2010 has, for good or bad, for that shall be judged by history, has extended this legal fiction to a new horizon. It has extended the right of free speech as available to individuals, to the Corporations as well.


This chapter is not complete and is still under preparation.

© Sandeep Bhalla

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