Limited Liability Partnership - What it is ?

With the growth of the Indian economy, the role played by its entrepreneurs as well as its technical and professional manpower has been acknowledged internationally. The traditional partnership of entrepreneurship, knowledge and risk capital combine to provide a further impetus to India's economic growth. However, a need has been felt for a new corporate form that would provide an alternative to this effect with unlimited personal liability on the other, in order to enable professional expertise and entrepreneurial initiative to combine, organize and operate in flexible, innovative and efficient manner.

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The Ministry of Company Affairs has notified the concept paper on Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) inviting public comments. The main purpose of this Concept Paper is to create a basic framework, which will facilitate the creation of a new legal entity in India viz. the limited liability partnership ("LLP"). The essential feature of an LLP is that it combines the organisational flexibility and tax status of a partnership with limited liability for its partners. An LLP is a body corporate having perpetual succession and separate legal entity.

Proposal in India

In India, a concept paper on Limited Liability Partnership Law was brought out by the Ministry of Company Affairs in 2005. In the year 2006 the Limited Liability Partnership Bill was introduced in the Parliament. In October 2008, the said Ministry has proposed a new Limited Liability Partnership Bill 2008, which has been submitted to the Parliament for its approval.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom LLPs are governed by the Limited Liability Partnerships Act 2000 (in England and Wales) and the Limited Liability Partnerships Act (Northern Ireland) 2002 in Northern Ireland. A UK Limited Liability Partnership is a Corporate body - that is to say, it has a continuing legal existence independent of its Members, as compared to a Partnership which may (in England and Wales they do not) have a legal existence dependent upon its Membership.

A UK LLP's members have a collective ("Joint") responsibility, to the extent that they may agree in an "LLP agreement", but no individual ("several") responsibility for each other's actions. As with a limited company or a corporation Members in an LLP cannot, in the absence of fraud or wrongful trading, lose more than they invest.

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United States

In the United States, each individual state has its own law governing their formation. Limited liability partnerships emerged in the early 1990s: while only two states allowed LLPs in 1992, over forty had adopted LLP statutes by the time LLPs were added to the Uniform Partnership Act in 1996.[7]

The limited liability partnership was formed in the aftermath of the collapse of real estate and energy prices in Texas in the 1980s. This collapse led to a large wave of bank and savings and loan failures. Because the amounts recoverable from the banks was small, efforts were made to recover assets from the lawyers and accountants that had advised the banks in the early-1980s. The reason was that partners in law and accounting firms were subject to the possibility of huge claims which would bankrupt them personally, and the first LLP laws were passed to shield innocent members of these partnerships from liability [8]

Although found in many business fields, the LLP is an especially popular form of organization among professionals, particularly lawyers, accountants and architects. In some U.S. states, namely California, New York, Oregon and Nevada, LLPs can only be formed for such professional uses. Formation of an LLP typically requires filing certificates with the county and state offices. Although specific rules vary from state to state, all states have passed variations of the Revised Uniform Partnership Act.

The liability of the partners varies from state to state. Section 306(c) of the Revised Uniform Partnership Act (1997)(RUPA) (a standard statute adopted by a majority of the states) grants LLPs a form of limited liability similar to that of a corporation.

Sources and recommended reading:
  2. Wikipedia
Participate in discussion for LLP agreement on CMA India Portal.

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