A juridical person is a human legal person that is not a single natural person but an organization recognized by law as a fictitious person such as a corporation, government agency, non-governmental organisation, or international organization (such as the United Nations). Other terms include artificial person, corporate person, judicial person, juridical entity, juridic person, or juristic person. A juridical person maintains certain duties and rights as enumerated under relevant laws. The rights and responsibilities of a juridical person are distinct from those of the natural persons constituting it.
Since the beginning of writing at the start of recorded history, associations have been known as the original form of the juridical person. This is documented for the 1st century A.D. for Jewish trading companies.[clarification needed] In Roman law, entities gained significance through institutions such as the state, communities, corporations (universitates) and their associations of persons and assets, as well as associations. At least three persons were required in Rome to found an association.
The term juridical person ("pessoa jurídica" in Portuguese) is used in legal science for designating an entity with rights and liabilities which also has legal personality. Its regulations are largely based on Brazil's Civil Code, where it is distinctly recognized and defined, among other normative documents.
Brazilian law recognizes any association or abstract entity as a juridical person, but a registry is required through a Constitutional Document, with specifications depending on the category of Juridical Person and local law of state and city.
For a typical example of the concept of legal person in a civil law jurisdiction, under the General Principles of Civil Law of the People's Republic of China, Chapter III, Article 36., "A legal person shall be an organization that has capacity for civil rights and capacity for civil conduct and independently enjoys civil rights and assumes civil obligations in accordance with the law." Note however that the term civil right means something altogether different in civil law jurisdictions than in common law jurisdictions.
Article 19(3) of the German Constitution sets forth: "Fundamental rights shall also apply to domestic artificial persons insofar as the nature of such rights shall permit."
In Italy trade unions have juridical personality, as stated in Article 39, Paragraph 4 of the Constitution:
Registered trade unions are juridical persons. They may, through a unified representation that is proportional to their membership, enter into collective labour agreements that have a mandatory effect for all persons belonging to the categories referred to in the agreement.— The Italian Constitution