United Kingdom

  • Ian Snaith


As Common Law jurisdictions, the nations of the UK (England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) do not operate with Codes as the Civil Law systems do. Rules about business organizations are to be found in particular pieces of legislation passed and amended from time to time and occasionally consolidated to bring the amending provisions into one legislative source. The capacity to contract or establish property rights and the content of contracts and rights and duties connected to property are generally determined by a mixture of judge made common law and particular legislative provisions. A business organization can be established and operated without registration (other than for tax purposes) or even writing if conducted by an individual as a sole trader or by a group of partners—providing the absence of legal personality and unlimited liability for business debts is accepted by the owners. The resulting organization will then be wholly governed by contract and property law in the case of the sole trader or by a mixture of rules found in the Partnership Act 1890 (PA 1890) and the contractual and property arrangements of the parties in the case of a partnership. The system therefore allows informality and flexibility. The legislation also allows substantial freedom for the parties to operate according to their own rules even if a corporate form is used.


Credit Union Share Capital Financial Service Authority Corporate Body Cooperative Society 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Co-operatives UK (2012) Code for worker co-operatives, 2nd edn.
  2. Cook M, Taylor R (2006) Investor Membership of Co-operatives registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1965 A Policy Note. FSA, London, Google Scholar

Further Reading

  1. Co-operatives UK (May 2005) Corporate Governance the Code of Best Practice for consumer co-operatives.
  2. Dunn A, Riley C (2004) Supporting the Not-for-Profit Sector: the Government’s Review of Charitable and Social Enterprise. Mod Law Rev 67:632CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Mills C (2008) Do large membership-based businesses have a future in the twenty-first century? J Co-operative Stud 41:17, Google Scholar
  4. Mulqueen T (2012) When a Business isn’t a Business: law and the political in the history of the United Kingdom’s Co-operative Movement. Onati Socio-Legal Series 2:36, Google Scholar
  5. Snaith I (2009) Co-operative law in the UK: the current reforms and the prospects. In David H (ed) Droit Compare Des Cooperatives Europeennes. Editions Larcier, Groupe de Boeck, Bruxelles, Belgium, pp 16–36. ISSN 1780-289X; ISBN 978-2-8044-2000-0Google Scholar
  6. Snaith I (2004) Mutuals and co-operatives: property, obligations, business and dedicated assets. In: Hudson A (ed) New perspectives on property law, obligations and restitution. Cavendish, London, pp 345–357. ISBN 1-85941-842-2Google Scholar
  7. Snaith I (2001) What is an industrial and provident society? J Co-operative Stud 34:37–42, ISSN 0961 5784Google Scholar
  8. Snaith I (2000) ‘Virtual co-operation’ the Jurist’s role. In: Kirk M, Kramer JW, Steding R (eds) Genossemschaften und Kooperation in einer sich wandelnden Welt: Festshrift fur Prof. Dr. Hans-H Munkner zum 65. Geburstag. Lit Verlag, Munster, pp 392–403. ISBN 3-8258-4879-5Google Scholar
  9. Snaith I (2000) Co-operative principles and law reform in the UK: wider lessons. In: Torremans PLC (ed) Legal convergence in the enlarged Europe of the New Millennium. Kluwer Law International. ISBN 90-411-1337-1Google Scholar
  10. Snaith I (1999) Regulating industrial and provident societies: co-operation and community benefit. In: Milman D (ed) Regulating enterprise: law and business organisations in the United Kingdom. Hart, Oxford. ISBN 1 901362 56-6Google Scholar
  11. United Kingdom Co-operative Council (1996) the financing and taxation of co-operatives, 3 vols. United Kingdom Co-operative Council, Manchester.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DWF LLPUniversity of LeicesterLeicesterUK

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