The cooperative´s rules must contain procedures for dealing with any dispute between:
- a member and another member
- a member and the cooperative.
A cooperative should also have a code of conduct that outlines the behaviour expected of members.
A member may appoint any person to act on their behalf in the dispute process, and the process must allow for natural justice to be applied.
This means all parties involved in the dispute should:
- know the full facts of the situation
- be heard by an unbiased tribunal
- be allowed the right of reply to any accusation.
There is an Australian standard guide to preventing, handling and resolving disputes that may assist you. You can purchase the standard and adapt it to your needs. Visit the Standards Australia website.
Cooperatives need to be prepared to resolve any internal disputes that may arise. If you cannot resolve the dispute internally, the Dispute Resolution Branch of the Department of Justice and Attorney-General offers a free mediation service. You can also apply to the court for a judgement.
We cannot provide legal advice, interpret the rules or become ´umpire´ in disputes of this nature. These are matters for the board of directors and the members to agree upon. Alternatively, they can seek independent legal advice or mediation.
Last reviewed 09/12/2011