Cooperative Law – Beyond the Talk about Sustainable Development

Helsinki Summer School 2020 is can­celled due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) out­break

TARGET STUDENTS

Advanced law students and students from other disciplines with a strong interest in cooperative law.

SYNOPSIS

An estimated one billion people around the world are members of a cooperative enterprise in virtually all sectors. Together with additional 2–3 billion economically dependent persons, they improve at least in part their livelihoods through this membership. International governmental and non-governmental legal texts have recognised this importance of cooperatives for some time. After decades of disinterest, academia and politics have gradually rediscovered this type of enterprise, its relative crisis resilience, its new role in the utilities sector, and in education, social and health care – in short, its potential for sustainable development.

The course is to create an understanding of the vital necessity for a diversity of enterprise forms to match the diversity of people's needs and interests and to make (sustainable) development possible and of the function of cooperative law in this respect. The term 'cooperative law' also incorporates other fields of law as they impact on the structure and operations of cooperatives, such as labour law, tax law, competition law and accounting and bookkeeping standards, as well as law making and implementation procedures.

Emphasis will be on the factors which shape cooperative law and the rationale behind specific legal rules, rather than on the technicalities of the law. In line with this, and as students come from different national backgrounds, reference to specific cooperative laws will only be made by way of examples.

The course is complemented by visits to and presentations by cooperative organisations. During the August 2019 session of the Helsinki Summer School, students visited the headquarters of the S-group and the Pellervo Coop Center.

TEACHERS AND LECTURERS

The course will be taught by Docent Hagen Henrÿ (JD), University of Helsinki.

Pedagogical planner Pekka Hytinkoski will be assisting and giving a presentation on different aspects of cooperative studies, with an emphasis on the Finnish Co-op Network Studies Programme. Guest lecturer (TBA) will give a presentation on Finnish cooperatives.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

At the end of the course the students will be able to distinguish the cooperative form of enterprise from a legal point of view from other forms of enterprise, especially from the stock company, and they will have a fair understanding of the rationale of cooperative law in relation to sustainable development.

COURSE FORMAT AND TEACHING METHODS

Introductory presentations by the teacher; discussions; presentations by the students; field visits.

MEANS AND CRITERIA OF ASSESSMENT

Grading scale: 5 = excellent; 4 = very good; 3 = good; 2 = average; 1 = poor; 0 = fail.

Assessment is based on:
• Reading and participation during lectures: 30%
• In-class assignments: 20%
• Written exam: 50%

COURSE SCHEDULE & LOCATION

City Centre Campus

Preliminary Course Schedule

Week 1
Monday 3.8.2020

Registration begins.

Tuesday 4.8.2020
Registration continues.Opening Ceremony.

Wednesday 5.8.2020
9.00-13.00 h,Teacher: Hagen Henrÿ  

  1. Introduction to the course (participants´ background and expectations; course outline and method; credit point and exam requirements; practical information concerning times and places of the course and of the visits to cooperative organizations; etc.).
  2. Modern cooperatives, their history and current, as well as possible future economic, social, societal and political importance/role - as related to sustainable development.
  3. Old and new types of cooperatives.
  4. Modern cooperatives – a world-wide phenomenon. Implications for cooperative law.
  5. Preliminary clarification of key terms: “cooperatives”; “cooperative enterprises”; “association”; “legal person”;  “law/regulation/byelaws”; “cooperative (enterprise) law in its wider sense”; etc..

Thursday 6.8.2020
9.00-11.00 h, Teacher: Hagen Henrÿ

  1. The role of law for the development of enterprises.
  2. Why legislate on cooperatives?
  • Legal reasons: Public international cooperative law; Human Rights law; and the legal concept of sustainable development.
  • The functions of legislation.

11.00-13.00 h, Teacher: Pekka Hytinkoski
Presentation on “The Finnish Cooperative Network Studies Program and Its Place within Cooperative Studies”.

Friday 7.8.2020
9.00-13.00 h, Teacher: Hagen Henrÿ

  1. The history of cooperative laws in different parts of the world. The rationale of trends in time and space.  
  2. The diversity of cooperative laws. Pros and cons of approximation trends.

Week 2
Monday 10.8.2020
9.00-13.00 h, Teacher: Hagen Henrÿ

  1. Cooperative law, beyond the national:
  • Relevant international texts
  1. the 1995 International Cooperative Alliance Statement on the cooperative identity  (ICA Statement);
  2. the 2001 United Nations Guidelines aimed at creating a supportive environment for the development of cooperatives (UN Guidelines); and
  3. the 2002 International Labor Organization Recommendation No. 193 concerning the promotion of cooperatives (ILO R. 193).
  • Their legal nature in the context of Human Rights law and of the legal concept of sustainable development. An emerging public international cooperative law?
  1. The definition of cooperatives, the cooperative values and the cooperative principles as enshrined in the ICA Statement and in the ILO R. 193: Differences between the two texts and their incidence on cooperative law.

14.00-15.30 h
Visit to a Finnish cooperative organisation

Tuesday 11.8.2020
9.00-13.00 h, Teacher: Hagen Henrÿ

  1. The content of ILO R. 193 as concerns cooperative law: From general values and principles, cooperative values and principles, legal principles and cooperative legal principles to cooperative law as the translation of the “cooperative principles”.
  2. A three-step definition of cooperatives: the difference between cooperatives and stock companies.

Wednesday 12.8.2020
9.00-13.00 h, Teacher: Hagen Henrÿ
An ABC of a cooperative law.

Thursday 13.8.2020
9.00-13.00 h, Teacher: Hagen Henrÿ
An ABC of cooperative law - continued
14.00-15-30 h
Cooperatives and cooperative law in Finland: Visit to the Cooperative Center Pellervo, the Finnish national confederation of cooperatives.

Friday 14.8.2020
9.00-13.00 h, Teacher: Hagen Henrÿ
An ABC of a cooperative law – continued.

Week 3
Monday 17.8.2020
9.00-13.00 h, Teacher: Hagen Henrÿ
An ABC of a cooperative law – continued.

Tuesday 18.8.2020
9.00-13.00 h, Teacher: Hagen Henrÿ
Cooperative law and sustainable development. Corporate Social and Societal Responsibility (CSSR) and Cooperative CSSR: The functional link between the legal structural elements of cooperatives and the aspects of sustainable development.

Wednesday 19.8.2020
9.00-13.00 h, Teacher: Hagen Henrÿ

  1. Cooperative law and sustainable development. Corporate Social and Societal Responsibility (CSSR) and Cooperative CSSR: The functional link between the legal structural elements of cooperatives and the aspects of sustainable development – continued.
  2. Summary of the course and repetition.

Thursday 20.8.2020
9.00-13.00 h, Teacher: Hagen  Henrÿ
Exam

COURSE READINGS

Obligatory:

1. The 1995 International Cooperative Alliance Statement on the cooperative identity in:
International Co-operative Review, Vol. 88, no. 4/1995, 85 p., also available at:
http://ica.coop/en/what-co-op/co-operative-identity-values-principles

2. The International Co-operative Alliance Guidance notes to the co-operative principles at: http://ica.coop/sites/default/files/attachments/Guidance%20Notes%20EN.pdf

3. The 2001 United Nations Guidelines aimed at creating a supportive environment for the
development, UN, doc. A/RES/54/123 y doc. A/RES/56/114 (A/56/73- E/2001/68; Res./56)

4. The 2002 International Labour Organization Recommendation 193 concerning the promotion
of cooperatives (ILC 90-PR23-285-En-Doc, June 20, 2002)

5. Hagen Henrÿ (2012): Guidelines for Cooperative Legislation, 3rd revised edition. International Labour Organization, Geneva, also available at: http://www.ilo.org/empent/Publications/WCMS_195533/lang--en/index.htm

Recommended:

1. Cooperative Principles for the 21st Century: Introduction. Document made available in
electronic format by the International Co-operative Alliance ICA, 11 September 1995, at:
http://www.uwcc.wisc.edu/icic/issues/prin/21-cent/intro.html

2. Johanna Heiskanen, Hagen Henrÿ, Pekka Hytinkoski and Tapani Köppä (eds.), New
Opportunities for Co-operatives: New Opportunities for People. Proceedings of the 2011 ICA
Global Research Conference, Mikkeli and Seinäjoki/Finland: University of Helsinki/Ruralia
Institute Publications No.27, 2012. Also available at:
http://www.helsinki.fi/ruralia/julkaisut/pdf/Publications27.pdf