Cooperative Law – Beyond Talk about Sustainable Development

Cooperative Law – Beyond Talk about Sustainable Development

Course dates:
4 August, 2020 to 20 August, 2020
990 €
Multidisciplinary, Social Sciences
Application deadline:
Monday, 15 June, 2020
University of Helsinki
Helsinki, Finland

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

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.

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.

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.

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


  • Degree and PhD students: Early Bird 900 EUR (until 28 Feb 2020) / normal fee 990 EUR
  • Professionals: Early Bird 1400 EUR (until 28 Feb 2020) / normal fee 1490 EUR
  • Students of the University of Helsinki and the students doing their exchange at the University of Helsinki before or directly after summer school 1 ECTS=15 EUR
  • Helsinki Summer School and University of Helsinki
  • Alumni receive a 50 EUR discount of the course fee, provided they do not already study at the University of Helsinki.