Legal and social entities
2.12. Legal or social entities are defined in SNA93 as institutional units that are 'recognized by law or society independently of the persons, or other entities, that may own or control them'. (SNA93, paragraph. 4.3.) They are created by law, either individually, as in the case of some government authorities (e.g. by Act of Parliament), or as a class, as in the case of corporations (e.g.by Corporations Law). The law establishes the existence of such entities as separate from their owners or members (e.g. companies exist as entities separate from their shareholders and unions exist as entities separate from their members). Although unincorporated enterprises do not exist as separate legal entities, they often act like corporations and keep a full set of accounts. SNA93 treats certain unincorporated enterprises as quasi-corporations (see paragraph 2.22) and therefore as legal or social entities. Three types of legal or social entities are recognised in SNA93 - corporations and quasi-corporations, government units, and nonprofit institutions (NPIs).