Whether you’re starting a business and considering a co-operative model, or want advice about applying co-operative national law to an existing entity, a co-operative law expert can help.
What is a co-operative?
A co-operative, or co-op, is a democratically-structured, member-owned corporate entity. Members can include employees, customers, suppliers, or anyone interested in the business. The primary role of a co-op is to benefit its members, whether that’s economically, socially or culturally.
According to Access Canberra, co-operatives are based on the principles of:
- voluntary and open membership
- democratic member control
- member economic participation
- autonomy and independence
- education, training and information
- cooperation among co-operatives
- concern for the community.
In the ACT and elsewhere across Australia, co-operatives are regulated under the Co-operatives National Law (ACT) Act 2017. Access Canberra is responsible for registering co-operatives and maintaining the register of co-operatives in the ACT.
What traits do the best co-operative law experts have?
A skilled business lawyer can take the stress out of starting and running a co-operative in Canberra. Here’s what you should look for when choosing a co-operative law expert in Canberra:
- Business law experience. To understand how a co-operative works, it’s helpful to understand how other types of businesses work. A talented business lawyer will have deep experience delivering commercial strategies, setting up corporate structures and meeting governance responsibilities. In Canberra, knowledge of how the private commercial sector interacts with the Commonwealth Government can also be valuable.
- Co-operatives experience. Your business lawyer should have experience establishing new co-operatives, advising on the co-operative structure and member rights, and advising on the introduction and application of the Co-Operative National Law. They should be able to articulate the benefits of the co-operative model and provide advice on effective collaborative decision-making.
- Industry-specific knowledge. A co-op in the agriculture industry will face different issues to those in the professional services or healthcare industries. Look for a legal team that understands your industry and organisation structure.
- A specialised co-operatives team. From a legal perspective, co-operatives can be quite complex. You may realise better outcomes working with a team who deals with co-operatives every day, rather than a lawyer who only encounters co-operatives occasionally.
The top co-operative law experts in Canberra according to you
RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 19 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended co-operative lawyers according to you.
To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on RiotACT and maintain a minimum average of 4/5 stars on both Google and Facebook reviews.
Located in the heart of Canberra, Bradley Allen Love Lawyers (abbreviated to BAL Lawyers) boasts a stellar reputation and impressive track record for achieving positive client outcomes.
BAL Lawyers’ specialist co-operatives team has years of experience establishing new co-operatives, advising on the co-operative structure and member rights, and advising on the introduction and application of the Co-operative National Law. It facilitates regular workshops about co-operatives and the role of collaborative-decision making, and is on the panel of specialists for the Commonwealth’s Farm Co-operatives & Collaboration Pilot Program.
One of the great things about working with BAL Lawyers is that you get more than just business law expertise across areas such as co-operatives, governance, contracting, intellectual property, trade practices and privacy. Its business law team also leverages the expertise of its real estate, planning and employment law experts to meet specific client needs.
Colquhoun Murphy Lawyers provides business and corporate advisory services to small and large businesses in industries including insurance, finance, property, media and construction. One of the great things about working with Colquhoun Murphy Lawyers is that its team keeps in close contact with your accountants, ensuring that all aspects of taxation, litigation and financing are covered.
Kamy Saeedi Law’s commercial litigation team is meticulous and hard-working, making it well-placed to help you navigate the complexities of starting and running a co-operative. Its lawyers take the time to understand your unique business situation so they can provide tailored advice to help you get the best results possible.
Who did you pick?
Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback on the best and worst Canberra co-operative law experts.
If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.
Please comment below detailing your experience with Canberra-based co-operative law experts. Who would you recommend? Who would you use again? Who would you steer clear of?