The Law Dictionary

Featuring Black’s Law Dictionary Free Online Legal Dictionary 2nd Ed.


Organizations resembling corporations; municipal societies or similar bodies which, though not true corporations in all respects, are yet recognized, by statutes or immemorial usage, as persons or aggregate corporations, with precise duties which may be enforced, and privileges which may be maintained, by suits at law. They may be considered quasi corporations, with limited powers, co-extensive with the duties imposed upon them by statute or usage, but restrained from a general use of the authority which belongs to those metaphysical persons by the common law. Scates v. King, 110 111. 456; Adams v. Wise-asset Bank, 1 Me. 361, 1 Am. Dec. 88; Lawrence County v. Railroad Co., 81 Ky. 227; Barnes v. District of Columbia, 91 U. S. 552, 23 L. Ed. 440. This term is lacking in definiteness and precision. It appears to be applied indiscriminately (a) to all kinds of municipal corporations, the word “quasi” being introduced because it is said that these are not voluntary organizations like private corporations, but created by the legislature for its own purposes and without reference to the wishes of the people of the territory affected ; (b) to all municipal corporations except cities and incorporated towns, the latter being considered the only true municipal corporations because they exist and act under charters or statutes of incorporation while counties, school districts, and the like are merely created or set off under general laws; (c) to municipal corporations possessing only a. low order of corporate existence or the most limited range of corporate powers, such as hundreds in England, and counties, villages, and school districts in America.


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