Law Commission invited to review legislation on co-operatives and friendly societies

The Law Commission has today been invited by the Treasury to undertake two projects to review the legal frameworks governing co-operatives and community benefit societies, and friendly societies.

The Commission has been asked to consider whether the current statute law which governs these organisations is fitting to their nature and needs, and whether the current form of regulation is proportionate.

A co-operative is an organisation which is owned by its members, who also have a say in how it is run. Co-operatives cover a wide range of activities, from pubs and community gardens, through supermarkets and energy suppliers, to housing associations and banks.

A friendly society is an organisation which provides insurance or other benefits to its members, funded by its members. Both forms of organisation have a long history in Britain, and a significant presence in our modern economy.

The Commission has been asked to undertake one project reviewing the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014, and one reviewing the Friendly Societies Act 1992, to ensure that these pieces of legislation support a modern business environment where co-operatives and friendly societies can continue to thrive.

Next steps

Commissioners will now consider the request, and officials will work to agree terms of reference and a timetable for the projects. We will release further information on the scope and timeline of the review once the project is formally agreed.

The Law Commission consults on its projects, and we look forward to having discussions with stakeholders, to hear their views of the current law and any potential reform.

If you want to receive updates on our work, please email: or from Tuesday 20 June to be added to the mailing list for the relevant project.