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The Lithuanian Ministry of Justice has come up with a proposal to do away with the requirement that all legal entities (corporations and other companies) in Lithuania have a seal, as stated in the ministry’s press release (in Lithuanian) dated January 12, 2011.

There never was a requirement for the use of the seal in forming contracts, but many regulations require that companies affix a seal when dealing with the government.

As the press release states, the requirement of a seal has no utility. It also states that the requirement to have a seal as a precondition to incorporation or company registration costs newly formed companies half a million litas a year.

All of this is obvious. No normal countries require a seal. Seals have no utility or nearly none. And I repeat, no normal countries require a seal. Normal being Western ones.

But there is no mention of the practice in any Western country in the press release. I guess they don’t exist. No reason to gauge oneself by their standards. Fine.

So, anyway, one could commend this development. I suppose one should.

But that would be akin to complimenting someone on his ceasing to beat his wife. I mean, well and good, I am glad if any man stops beating his wife. One wonders, though, whether he really should have been beating her at all. Just to make sure readers understand, I am speaking sarcastically. It is difficult to justify any wife-beating. So if one stops, well, good, but …

Something having so little utility, something so clearly ridiculous and costly, should have been gotten rid of twenty years ago. It is telling (which means that it indicates) something else: the tenacity of Soviet legal thinking and indeed the Soviet mentality. I think it also indicates strongly that there is and was little impetus to reform.

Now, that is a shame.

To be completely fair, I suppose I should state that somewhere about five years ago or so the powers that be did away with some other costly requirements as to seals. Previously, when one started a company, one had to … get a permit from the police okaying the seal’s creation. I kid you not.

While on the topic, larger companies created numerous seals. (!!) One that I saw was particularly hilarious. It bore the company name and then in big letters, “For Contracts.”

Now, all of this was great stuff in the way of amusement, if one likes a live-in theater of the absurd. But it did nothing for the improvement of living and legal conditions. The more absurdity, the more lack of clarity. The more lack of clarity, the diminution of rights. Everything affects everything else, you know.

Some know. Some care. Others don’t.

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