Vanderbilt Law Review


Stanley D. Rose

First Page



The public corporation is a common device to carry on governmental activities in the British Commonwealth, Europe and the United States.' It has been the uniformly favored instrument of nationalization policies. The reason for the use of such a public body is "unquestionably due to the realization that it offers the most convenient though by no means the only method for a successful application in public enterprise of principles of business efficiency developed in the private field." The necessarily extensive dealings of private citizens with such corporations force the courts to face promptly the problem of the legal status of such bodies. The problem is raised at this time not only because of the general interest in the events taking place in England but also because of the contrasting viewpoints shown in the English and American solutions of the same problems. Furthermore, some recent statutory developments in the United States indicate a movement toward a more uniform control over public agencies and have apparently resulted in some contraction of the amenability to suit of government corporations. This note will be devoted to a study of the legal liability of public corporations in England and the United States as determined by various criteria, and an analysis of the results of the application of these criteria in protecting private citizens in their dealings with the steadily increasing numbers of such public instrumentalities.