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Disregarding corporate personality of husband-and-wife companies

Disregarding corporate personality of husband-and-wife companies

Judicial authorities proceed to experience a practical predicament in determining to disregard identity of partner-and-spouse companies in disputes. In this article, the creator empirically analyses the problem based mostly on judgments and case details.


The author carried out a lookup on precedents regarding disputes of spouse-and-wife businesses from 1 January 2020 to 31 Oct 31 2021 utilizing search phrases of “husband-and-wife company”, “one-man or woman company” and “joint and numerous liability”. A whole of 185 closed civil instances came up. Right after excluding recurring and invalid circumstances, 74 scenarios remained, together with 13 continue to in execution treatments.

Geographically, the leading 3 provinces with the most situations were Guangdong (22 scenarios), Shandong (12) and Zhejiang (6). Among the Guangdong scenarios, 12 have been in Foshan, all of which disregarded the persona of husband-and-wife companies.

Amid the overall 74 cases, 35 (47%) ended up next-instance circumstances, of which only two revised the 1st-instance judgment, indicating an extremely very low revision price.

In 48 (65%) of the 74 instances, persona of partner-and-spouse corporations was disregarded. In 43 of these instances, partner-and-spouse businesses ended up expressly identified as essentially a single-particular person organizations, accounting for about 90%.

Temperament PRESERVED

In the 26 conditions not supporting disregard of personality of partner-and-spouse corporations, most courts held that a spouse-and-wife company was proven by two shareholders, inconsistent with the formal requirements of just one-particular person companies, generating it tough to use principles on the distribution of stress of proof supplied by the Organization Regulation for just one-human being firms.

Disregarding corporate personality of husband-and-wife companies
Wang Zheng
ETR Regulation Agency

The civil judgment of Li Guanhua v Guangzhou Jiaming Plastic Merchandise (2020) held the corporation and its shareholders as unbiased civil topics, with their respective homes separated from 1 a further, and that all added benefits produced by the husband-and-spouse corporation were being that’s why organization house – not joint property of the husband and wife.

The pre-expenditure house status – no matter whether joint house of the spouse and wife or existence of any house division arrangement – experienced no significant impression on the company’s money construction and asset position. Hence, the authorized personality and different legal responsibility of a husband-and-wife company have been considered no various than people of a general restricted liability business.

Seemingly, the earlier mentioned-mentioned judgments mostly distinguish partner-and-spouse providers from a person-human being organizations in conditions of shareholding composition.

Variables weighing heavily on judges’ determinations of the legal mother nature of husband-and-spouse corporations included: whether or not the spouse and spouse entirely fulfilled their capital contribution obligations no matter whether it was founded as a partner-and-wife organization whether the company’s money owed were formed in the course of the spouse and wife’s shareholding and no matter whether the partner-and-spouse enterprise could deliver impartial financial statements to show separation of business house from that of the shareholders.


In this sort of cases, the huge the greater part of courts held that husband-and-spouse firms were being primarily 1-individual businesses – mostly on the grounds that if there was no settlement in between the shareholders of a partner-and-spouse firm on the possession of their pre-marital and marital assets, capital contribution from shareholders basically derives from the exact same residence correct, shared and managed by a one possession. So the fairness proprietors are regular and singular in their passions, very comparable to a person-individual businesses.

In the civil judgment of Foshan Nanhai Shunyang Footwear v Luo Weixin et al (2020), the trial court held that it conformed to the legislative intent of the Company Legislation to judge and regulate the character of spouse-and-spouse corporations by reference to appropriate provisions of the Enterprise Legislation on 1-individual providers.

On 28 June 2020, in the retrial of objection to execution by a Mr Xiong, the Supreme People’s Court docket clarified that the spouse-and-wife corporation was effectively a one-person business, and reasoned from the areas of authorized concept and judicial effect. While it was not a guiding circumstance, the court’s view has subsequently been quoted many times by litigants and judges. The creator thinks that the judgment experienced great affect on the trial of subsequent comparable scenarios. Specified courts able to detect a commingling of house have specifically utilized the provisions of post 20.3 of the Corporation Regulation – disregarding the individuality of the spouse-and-wife organization and preventing the argument about irrespective of whether the partner-and wife business is a one particular-particular person organization completely.


According to the author’s research, courts are unlikely to disregard the temperament of a husband-and-spouse business all through enforcement objections, thus immediately adding the shareholders as the persons issue to execution. The key purpose is that most court execution divisions feel that the review of adding folks subject matter to execution really should observe the basic principle of limited growth of res judice (a matter now adjudicated), without the need of growing the scope of rationalization.

It is not suitable to deem a husband-and-wife enterprise as a one particular-human being firm and increase the shareholders, in accordance to article 20 of the Provisions of the Supreme People’s Courtroom on Many Concerns Concerning the Change and Addition of Events.

Although it is tough to assistance the opponent’s procedural application in the non-litigation critique of execution, the ruling outcome does not have an effect on the outcome of the substantive demo of an execution objection course of action.

Thus, if the objecting social gathering insists that the husband-and-spouse organization is a just one-person corporation in essence, it might initiate a lawful enforcement objection. According to research, in enforcement objection, the proportion of instances in which courts aid the disregard of temperament of spouse-and-wife providers is better.


The present-day law does not plainly specify the problems, specifications or identification expectations for whether shareholders of a spouse-and-spouse firm should be jointly and severally liable for the company’s money owed. Therefore, judicial authorities nevertheless have a useful dilemma in selecting to disregard character of spouse-and-spouse providers.

The writer thinks it is vital to make more sensible and very clear legal provisions for the identification specifications of disregarding the identity of partner-and-spouse organizations according to their particularities.

In professional demo observe, judicial authorities ought to decide whether to disregard the legal character of spouse-and-wife organizations, and not allow partner-and-wife businesses to make confined defences on the disregard of persona of minimal providers.

Wang Zheng is a husband or wife at ETR Legislation Business

10 & 29/F, Chow Tai Fook Finance Centre
No. 6 Zhujiang Dong Road, Tianhe District
Guangzhou 510623, China


Tel: +86 20 3718 1333

Fax: +86 20 3718 1388


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