Listen to the podcast by Ian SnaithAn electronic version can be purchased direct from Co-operatives UK by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.The Handbook of Co-operative and Community Benefit Society Law
is an essential tool for practitioners advising and working with (and within) co-operatives and community benefit societies.
This fully updated edition of the definitive work in this area of law deals with the recently enacted Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014, changes to share capital limits, major reforms of insolvency law for societies, and the new powers and approach to the Financial Conduct Authority as their regulator. A special chapter outlines the application of the law to credit unions. The book illustrates the operation of the law by referring to the provisions of a wide range of society model rules.
Under the editorship of Ian Snaith, the new edition has been updated by a team of contributors with many years of practical experience with societies across a wide range of sectors including housing, retail, health and finance. The project has been organised and supported by Co-operatives UK, the national body that campaigns for co-operation and works to promote, develop and unite co-operative enterprises. As well as providing a complete guide for practitioners, academics and students, this continues to be a handbook for a “self-help” movement, written in accessible language and laid out in a convenient format for all.The Handbook of Co-operative and Community Benefit Society Law
is the successor to the Handbook of Industrial and Provident Society Law, first published in 1993 under ISBN 978 08519 5203 1.
Co-operative and community benefit societies in their legal context
Legislative history and modern societies
The rules of the society
Directors and officials
Capital and surplus distribution
Accounts, Audit and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Powers
Disputes and proceedings
A society’s contracts and investments
The transformation and dissolution of societies: solvent and insolvent
Useful contacts Index Click here to read the full contents list.
Important legal changes affecting co-operative and community benefit societies (formerly industrial and provident societies) came into force in 2014. The Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014 consolidated most of the law for England, Scotland and Wales. A number of statutory instruments made important changes to the powers of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as registrar of societies, applied insolvency rescue procedures and director disqualification to societies, increased permitted holdings of share capital, and eased electronic communication with the FCA. That followed the 2012 replacement of the FSA by the PRA and FCA which particularly affected creit unions. Those developments meant that it was time to provide an
up-to-date legal text in the area. Co-operatives UK decided to do that and this is the result.
This book offers a full treatment of the law on co-operative and community benefit societies based on the 2014 consolidation and the reforms. It is intended to be authoritative and provides detailed and up-to-date legal references that the reader can follow up. It is aimed at lawyers, accountants and co-operative development workers as well as directors, secretaries, and active members of housing associations, co-operatives and community benefit societies. The book offers a resource for societies of every size across all sectors. It may also be of interest to historians, policy-makers, researchers, and commentators.
Professionals such as accountants, business advisers and lawyers need to increase their awareness of these societies as an alternative to the registered company. Undergraduate and postgraduate students and academics need a reference book in this area and perhaps the availability of this text will encourage law and business courses at all levels to widen their coverage beyond companies.
The updating project has been a truly co-operative effort. The Co-operatives UK legal team, particularly Helen Barber and Linda Barlow, have made this happen by virtue of their hard work and insight. They had the full support of Ed Mayo, the Secretary General and the Co-operatives UK board. A business plan was devised by Nick Money. Cliff Mills was heavily involved in promoting and encouraging the project from the beginning and Mike Gaskell rallied the Trowers’ troops to assist.
It has been a privilege to work on this project with a team of legal practitioners highly experienced in the field. We worked on updating my original text for chapters or sections of chapters as follows:
- David Alcock of Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP – Section 9.1., and Chapter 11;
- Diego Ballon-Ossio of General Counsels Division, Financial Conduct Authority – Sections 3.1. to 3.7., 9.3. and 9.4.;
- Sam Coward of Trowers and Hamlins LLP – Chapter 10;
- Ian Davis of Trowers and Hamlins LLP – Chapter 8;
- Mike Gaskell of Trowers and Hamlins LLP – Sections 3.8. to 3.12.;
- Cliff Mills of Capsticks Solicitors LLP – Chapters 2 and 5;
- Jo Savage of Croftons Solicitors LLP – Chapter 6;
- Abbie Shelton of ABCUL, Association of British Credit Unions Limited – Chapter 13;
- Catherine Simpson of Trowers and Hamlins LLP – Chapter 7;
- Ian Snaith of the University of Leicester and DWF LLP – Chapter 1, Section 9.2., and Sections 12.6. to 12.8.; and
- Sharron Webster of Trowers and Hamlins LLP – Chapter 4 and Sections 12.1. to 12.5.
As editor, I co-ordinated all the work and finalised the whole text, including rewriting or reordering some chapters in the light of more recent developments and experience.
This edition updates the text of the 1993 version of the Handbook of Industrial and Provident Society Law which was published as a looseleaf volume by Holyoake Books, an imprint of the Co-operative Union (now part of Co-operatives UK). That volume drew on the work of previous Co-operative Union authors who produced earlier versions between 1894 and 1980. Particular tribute is due to Bill Chappenden, who produced the version on the 1965 Act, and to Paul Rose and Ian Swinney who updated that volume. The 1993 edition also drew on my own Law of Co-operatives which was published in 1984 by Waterlow Publishers. My work on the 1993 volume resulted from the encouragement of Arthur Pemberton and John Butler of the Institute of
Co-operative Directors and its production and marketing were enthusiastically supported by Iain Williamson and Gillian Lonergan, both then of the Co-operative Union. In that sense, the book is the fruit of the co-operation of many over a period of 120 years.
The format has changed to reflect developments in the last 20 years. The former looseleaf format allowed updates from time to time but those loose page updates had to be filed in and the format was expensive to produce. For that reason, this book is in hardback format with a version in ebook form for those who prefer that. It seems that the law may be settled at least for a while now so a new edition may not be needed for a few years.
Because online access to legislation is now freely available at www.legislation.gov.uk,
the 1993 appendices containing statutes and statutory instruments have been dropped. Similarly, the Co-operatives UK Corporate Governance Codes are available online at http://www.uk.coop,
along with many other helpful legal and business materials. The provisions of some society model rules have been used to illustrate the choices open to societies in some chapters of this edition but, to avoid a having to sell the book at an even higher price, the full text of the Model Rules has not been included.
The process of preparing the text for production and publication has been ably and efficiently carried out by Kate Hather of Jordan Publishing and Julian Roskams of Etica Press Ltd.
I take full responsibility for the final product and particularly for any errors or inaccuracies in it. As far as possible, the law is stated as it stood on 1 August
At the beginning of 2012, the year dedicated by the United Nations to be the International Year of Co-operatives, the Coalition Government committed itself to update and consolidate the legislation for co-operatives registered as industrial and provident societies in the United Kingdom. This was a welcome moment for the sector.
Two years on, that commitment has been realised with the coming into law of the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014.
Co-operatives UK has been at the heart of the campaign for reforms and consolidation of the law relating to co-operatives for the last two or three decades. To complement the new Act, Co-operatives UK has published this updated handbook of co-operative and community benefit society law, an essential guide for societies and their advisors.
Ian Snaith, the Handbook’s editor, is the UK’s foremost specialist in co-operative legislation, and part of a wider European and global resource on the application into law of co-operative principles and values.
Together, the authors have a wealth of experience in providing advice to societies, turning the Handbook of Co-operative and Community Benefit Society Law into an essential and authoritative publication.
Dame Pauline Green
International Co-operative Alliance
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