Simply Legal

Type: Practical guides  |  Topic: Governance  |  Format: Documents and policies

Simply Legal is a guide with all you need to know about legal forms and organisational types for co‑operatives and community owned enterprises.


  1. Introduction
  2. Why legal structures are important
    Legal structures are a necessary part of the framework of all organisations. Choosing the right legal structure goes a long way towards making an organisation such as a co-operative or social enterprise run more effectively.
  3. The advantages and disadvantages of incorporation
    When considering the appropriate legal form to adopt, the members of an organisation need to decide if being incorporated is the best option for them, or whether they should stay unincorporated. This section explains incorporation, and the advantages and disadvantages.
  4. A summary of unincorporated legal forms
    There are several options for unincorporated organisations when it comes to choosing a legal form. This chapter contains details of the main unincorporated forms.
  5. A summary of incorporated legal forms
    This chapter contains details of the main legal forms available to organisations considering incorporation.
  6. Organisational types
    Many organisations may want to be known as a particular type of organisation, in addition to their legal form. This chapter provides a summary of the main organisational types and their characteristics.
  7. Ownership
    Every organisation must have members who are often considered to be the owners. This chapter outlines the key considerations and terms regarding ownership.
  8. Charitable status
    This chapter sets out the main requirements in order to become a recognised charity in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, which will differ depending on the legal form and country in which it is registered. See also our supplements focused on Scottish charities and Northern Irish charities
  9. The benefits of charitable status
    Before deciding to create a charity, it is important to consider the effect it may have on the planned activities and whether or not the supposed benefits will actually be beneficial to an organisation and its beneficiaries.
  10. Restrictions of charitable status
    There are several regulations concerning what charities may and may not do. This chapter outlines the restrictions organisations deciding whether or not to be a charity should consider.
  11. Moving forward
    This chapter focuses on an organisation’s internal structure – its governance and operations – which can be reflected in the carefully worded clauses of its governing document and internal policies.
  12. Glossary & Appendices
    Includes a glossary of common terms, abbreviations, International Co-operative Alliance values and support and information to take your co-op to the next level.

The 'Simply' series

Start-up | Governance | FinancePerformanceBuyout

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