Legal News for UK Co-ops and Mutuals

This is a blog where brief information about developments in UK Co-op and mutual law will be reported. Readers of this blog will also find Linda Barlow's Co-operatives UK Blog at helpful. For an network of academics working on co-ops, mutuals and social enterprises visit

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Location: Leicestershire, United Kingdom

Interested in sharing information and knowledge around legal issues for co-ops and social enterprises in the co-oplawnews blog and thoughts on random issues in the "real" blog.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

UK Co-operative Law Proposal of 1995 now Online

UKCC Legal Working Group 1995 Proposal for a Co-operatives Act for the UK:

Part I: UKCC Co-op Law Proposal pp1-25 &
Part II: UKCC Co-op Law Proposal pp26-53

After the Thatcher Government abolished the UK's national Co-operative Development Agency in 1990, some of the money from it was used to finance the UK Co-operative Council. That was an apex co-operative body including the Co-operative Union (consumer co-ops), ICOM (worker co-ops) and the main agricultural co-op and housing co-op bodies. Co-operatives UK is now the equivalent body and, before developing as such, contracted to administer UKCC's affairs.

I was the co-ordinator of the UKCC Legal Working Group. The members were Charlie Cattell for ICOM (now part of Co-operatives UK), Roger Jones (then CWS Secretary) for the consumer movement and Michael Finch from NFU representing agricultural co-ops.

The Proposal represented the fruit of many years' work by that group in attempting to develop a modern Co-operative Law for the UK that would accommodate and meet the needs of all the sectors. By 1997 it was turned into a voluminous Parliamentary Bill which was presented to the incoming Blair Government early in May 1997.

From then on, despite the sterling efforts of Lord Dennis Carter and Ted Graham (Lord Graham of Edmonton), and the work of Sir Graham Melmoth   ("the man who saved the co-op") and the late John Tilley as CWS Parliamentary Officer, lack of Parliamentary time prevented the development of a Government Bill. However, some but not all of its proposals became law through a series of private members' bills and pieces of secondary legislation between 2002 and 2011.

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