Draft Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Bill

Open date: 26 September 2013

Close date: 15 November 2013

This consultation is now closed.  For a description of the project and its current status, please refer to the project page.

A Bill consolidating legislation relating to co-operative and community benefit societies is being prepared with a view to its being introduced and enacted in the current session of Parliament.  This consultation relates to a draft of the Bill and the following supporting documents (as they stand on 26 September 2013):

  • Drafter’s Notes for the Joint Committee (which explain how the legislation has been consolidated and mentions any significant decisions the drafter has taken)
  • Draft Law Commission recommendations (which set out some possible changes to the law intended to lead to a satisfactory consolidated text)
  • A Table of Origins (which shows where in the current legislation each provision of the draft Bill originates)

The Bill extends both to England and Wales and to Scotland, and so falls within the responsibility of both the Law Commission for England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission.  The Government department responsible for this area of law is the Treasury.

The consolidation section of our website explains the aims of a consolidation, the procedure and the limited scope for altering the effect of the law.

Broadly, the objective is to reproduce the substantive effect of the current legislation (including relevant changes to the general law), while putting the law into a more logical, accessible, clear and modern form.  This includes using gender neutral language and addressing anomalies or inconsistencies in the existing legislation.

The Drafter’s Notes explain points where the drafter has taken a view as to the effect of the current law in drafting the Bill.

The substantive effect of the law can only be changed by the Bill to give effect to a recommendation by the Law Commissions that the law should be changed.  The scope of what the Commissions can recommend is limited to changes necessary to produce a satisfactory consolidated text.  Such changes are usually highly technical.

The draft recommendations show the changes currently included in the Bill that are currently thought to need a Law Commission recommendation. The Law Commission and Scottish Law Commission have agreed to publish them for consultation.  They are only suggestions at this stage.  No decisions have been made about any of the points.  Final decisions, taking account of anything raised by consultees, will be made after the consultation closes.

Detailed work on the consolidation continues and the final versions of the supporting documents will be submitted to the Joint Committee on Consolidation etc. Bills once the final Bill is introduced.

The main questions we invite consultees to consider are: 

  • Does the Bill accurately reproduce the effect of the legislation being consolidated (with the changes described in the draft Law Commission recommendations)?
  • Can the drafting of the Bill be improved, without altering the effect of the law?
  • Are the contents of the Drafter’s Notes and the draft Law Commission recommendations satisfactory?
  • Is there relevant legislation that has not been consolidated (given that it has been decided not to include the corresponding legislation in Northern Ireland or legislation on credit unions)?

We welcome views on whether any change suggested in the draft Law Commission recommendations does not in fact amount to a substantive change or, conversely, whether the Bill makes substantive changes to the law that are not the subject of a suggested Law Commission recommendation.

It is not possible to address substantive policy changes in the consolidation unless they are changes recommended by the Law Commissions of the kind described above.   Accordingly we are not inviting comments about policy or as to the desirability of reform of the law.  Comments of that kind should be addressed to the Treasury.

We are happy to accept responses in any form but it would be helpful to us if you were able to send them to us by email.

Email to communications@lawcommission.gsi.gov.uk or info@scotlawcom.gsi.gov.uk
Post to Adrian Hogarth, Law Commission, Steel House, 11 Tothill Street, London SW1H 9LJ or Susan Sutherland, Scottish Law Commission, 140 Causewayside, Edinburgh EH9 1PR

Reference number: LC341/SLC235 (joint project with the Scottish Law Commission)

This consultation relates to our Draft Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Bill project.

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