What is Corporation Sole?

By Glen Stoll, Director and General Counsel of Remedies at Law
September 4, 1998

The first known Corporation Sole was established by the Church of England in the year 1448. At that point in history the Church of England had not broken its ties with the Church of Rome. The King of England had not yet been dubbed "the Defender of the Faith," and Martin Luther had not posted his 95 Theses on the door of the Castle church at Wittenberg.

More than 200 years earlier King John granted that great charter, the Magna Charta, containing principles upon which the English judicial system is based. It established the rule of English common law which provided due process for any "freeman. . . by the lawful judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land." Equal protection was acknowledged by stating, "We will sell to no man, we will not deny to any man, either justice or right."

But as the state assumed the authority of the church, force was used to compel matters of religious conscience. Without the support of the state, the church was left to depend upon the power of reason and belief. Ecclesiastical Law was referred to as the "Canons of the Church" in order to avoid the use of the word "law." The ownership of real property was eventually held by the church, apart from the control of the state, through the establishment of a Corporation Sole.

An unincorporated church ministry, such as a local mission or family assembly, is the only authority that may grant a charter for the creation of a Corporation Sole. The Articles of Incorporation and Charter must be registered with the church before notice of its existence can be given. A filing with the Secretary of State or county recorder provides notice to the public at large and to the state in general that a given Corporation Sole is the exclusive overseer of the unincorporated ministry that created it.

Just as there is only one office, there can be only one office holder at any given point in time. Thus, the word "sole" meaning singular. That single office is incorporated into the body of Christ to serve the unincorporated ministry. The Corporation Sole is historically Christian in its function and structure and is exempt from federal, state or local license or tax by its very nature.




The King of England The King England
The Bishop of the Church of Rome The Bishop The Church of Rome
The Office of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints The Office of the President The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The following are definitions from Black's Law Dictionary (6th Edition):

The Church is the religious society founded and established by Jesus Christ, to receive, preserve, and propagate His doctrines and ordinances. A Church is a body or community of Christians, united under one form of government by the profession of the same faith and the observance of the same ritual and ceremonies. A Mission is an establishment of churches, schools and relief depots through which are taught the principles of Christianity, the afflicted cared for, and the needy supplied.


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Remedies at Law is a private law firm that was founded in 1988 as the Family Defense League. The Director and General Counsel of Remedies at Law maintains its nontaxable status as a “mandatory exception” consistent with 508 (c)(1)(A) of the Internal Revenue Code as an educational, religious corporation sole of the church, is not for profit, and has its charter on file with the Secretary of State in Oklahoma.

Last updated on Tuesday, October 21, 2008