Limited Liability Parterneship (LLP)
LLP is an alternative corporate business form that gives the benefits of limited liability of a company and the flexibility of a partnership.
The LLP can continue its existence irrespective of changes in partners. It is capable of entering into contracts and holding property in its own name.
The LLP is a separate legal entity, is liable to the full extent of its assets but liability of the partners is limited to their agreed contribution in the LLP.
Further, no partner is liable on account of the independent or un-authorized actions of other partners, thus individual partners are shielded from joint liability created by another partner’s wrongful business decisions or misconduct.
Mutual rights and duties of the partners within a LLP are governed by an agreement between the partners or between the partners and the LLP as the case may be. The LLP, however, is not relieved of the liability for its other obligations as a separate entity.
Since LLP contains elements of both ‘a corporate structure’ as well as ‘a partnership firm structure’ LLP is called a hybrid between a company and a partnership.
Structure of an LLP
LLP shall be a body corporate and a legal entity separate from its partners. It will have perpetual succession.
Advantages of LLP form
LLP form is a form of business model which:
(i) is organized and operates on the basis of an agreement.
(ii) provides flexibility without imposing detailed legal and procedural requirements
(iii) enables professional/technical expertise and initiative to combine with financial risk taking capacity in an innovative and efficient manner
Difference between LLP & "traditional partnership firm"
Under “traditional partnership firm”, every partner is liable, jointly with all the other partners and also severally for all acts of the firm done while he is a partner.
Under LLP structure, liability of the partner is limited to his agreed contribution. Further, no partner is liable on account of the independent or un-authorized acts of other partners, thus allowing individual partners to be shielded from joint liability created by another partner’s wrongful acts or misconduct.
Difference between LLP & a Company
A basic difference between an LLP and a joint stock company lies in that the internal governance structure of a company is regulated by statute (i.e. Companies Act, 1956) whereas for an LLP it would be by a contractual agreement between partners.
The management-ownership divide inherent in a company is not there in a limited liability partnership.
LLP will have more flexibility as compared to a company.
LLP will have lesser compliance requirements as compared to a company.
Other countries where this form is available
The LLP structure is available in countries like United Kingdom, United States of America, various Gulf countries, Australia and Singapore. On the advice of experts who have studied LLP legislations in various countries, the LLP Act is broadly based on UK LLP Act 2000 and Singapore LLP Act 2005.
Both these Acts allow creation of LLPs in a body corporate form i.e. as a separate legal entity, separate from its partners/members.