A company is "an artificial entity recognized by the law as a legal person that exists independently with rights and liability"*. So the law recognises them as a person. Are they therefore allowed to do person things? For instance, can a company earn a certification, like a degree?

In UK/US/Canada, there are laws restricting what people can do based on their credentials - mostly relating to financial services. I'm wondering if it's possible for a company to become credentialed, or if there is provision in the law to disallow them?

As an example, to offer financial advice in the UK, a person needs to have a recognised qualification. Could a company earn such a qualification, allowing the company to make recommendations?

I suspect this would be practically impossible - a company can't physically hold a pen, and therefore is unlikely to be able to take an exam. But I'm wondering if this is addressed in law, or if it is technically permitted and just never done due to practical constraints.

As a tangential, sub-question, some expert systems (e.g. IBM Watson) are becoming very adept at offering advise. They can't legally do so, due to not being a person, but I wonder if an AI could be considered part of a company, and therefore able to certify and act independently of the companies human constituents. Would this allow a company to circumvent the practical constraints, and earn a legally-recognized qualification?


1 Answer 1


In the US, the states regulate design professions (architecture, engineering, landscape architecture, land surveying, etc). A list of web sites to see land survey laws and regulations is at enter link description here, other professions are similar.

In most states, not only must the regulated services be performed by a licensed natural person, but if the professional is acting as an employee, the employing company must meet certain standards. Sometimes the employing company itself must apply for recognition by the appropriate state board as a company that employs design professionals. In other states, the company need not register, but must have one or more design professionals in a high-ranking position in the company, such as on the board of directors.

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