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Definition of Legal Fiction

Legal fiction is the assumption that something may be true even though it may not be true, but its presumption is used to help come to an equitable resolution to a legal situation. A common example of legal fiction today is the notion of corporate "personhood." Because it is impossible to sue the partners of a corporation directly, due to the notion of "incorporation" which has been created, the legal fiction of "corporate personhood" has been created so the corporation can be sued. Other situations which may involve legal fiction occur in adoptions and the handling of wills and estates.

Legal fiction is also used to avoid certain legal codes or provisions which the legislators do not want to change. For example, when a legislature has no legal power to sit beyond certain time but they have more work to do they may "turn back" the official clock, rather than change the law. In court legal fiction may be used to facilitate the hearing of the case, although at times legal fiction is challenged if a party in the case believes it would result in a miscarriage of justice.

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