PLEASE NOTE! This course was held in 2014 and 2015, new courses will be arranged in 2017.

Target Students

Advanced Bachelor’s and Master’s students, including professionals already working, interested in co-operative law.


Co-operative enterprise law is only rarely part of teaching curricula, even if about one billion members around the world are involved in this special form of enterprise with an economic and social impact to match. The repeated crisis resilience of co-operatives and the growing awareness that sustainable development issues must also be addressed by and through enterprises bring this shortcoming to light. The issue is tackled by international governmental instruments and by the International Cooperative Alliance Blueprint for the Cooperative Decade 2011–2020.

This course is to create an understanding of the factors which shape co-operative law. The term “co-operative law” also incorporates other fields of law as they impact on the structure and operations of co-operatives, such as labour law, tax law, competition law and accounting and bookkeeping standards, as well as law making and implementation procedures. As students come from different national backgrounds, reference to specific co-operative laws will only be made by way of example.

Learning objectives

At the end of the course the students will be able to distinguish the co-operative form of enterprise from other forms, especially from the stock company, in terms of its legal structure. This includes co-operative management and governance, the nature and structure of its capital and its control mechanisms.

The students will learn about developments that shape co-operative laws, not least as co-operatives take new forms under globalisation. These complex developments include a general trend to harmonise law; the emergence of international regulations which directly impact on enterprises; regional co-operative legislation and regional model laws.

Course format and teaching methods

Classroom teaching connected to course literature and blended learning elements (digital material) and visits to co-operative organisations.

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