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Meet the ESELA Team – Luke Fletcher

Luke Fletcher talks about the state of social enterprise law in the UK, his personal career motivations, and what the future holds for social enterprise law.

By ESELA Posted 18/02/2016
  1. What kind of social enterprise legal work do you do?   

A wide range. Setting up social enterprises, advising on legal structures, constitutions and governance, creating financial instruments, managing capital raising transactions. It is hugely varied, which I enjoy.

  1. Describe one aspect of social enterprise law in your country which works well and one aspect which needs to change

There is huge policy support for social enterprise in the UK, so the legal system is changing and becoming more social enterprise friendly. We have a new tax relief for investment in social enterprises, which offers investors a tax deduction worth 30% of the value of the investment, which should encourage a lot more social investment. Sadly, the regulation of different legal forms is fragmented between different regulators.

  1. What do you think the future holds for social enterprise law in the UK?

I expect greater cohesion and rationality in the legal and regulatory system. I hope that in the next five years we will have a single regulator for all social enterprise legal forms – a Social Economy Commission.

  1. How long have you been working in social enterprise law?

I have been at Bates Wells Braithwaite now for nine years and I have loved every minute of it. Except for the odd late night, of course.

  1. Why did you decide to specialise in social enterprise law?

I believe that the best kind of social change comes about when people take responsibility. This is the beauty of social enterprise – it harnesses entrepreneurship for good. And those are the kind of clients I want to have. Clients who are highly motivated and professional but who are energised by the thought of making things better for everyone. It is a privilege to work for social entrepreneurs who are making change happen.

  1. Describe an interaction or encounter with a social enterprise that inspired you.

I once visited an Emmaus community workshop in which people at risk of homelessness were working together to renovate and sell second-hand furniture. It was hard work but there was an amazing sense of purpose.

  1. If you could describe social enterprise law in one word, what would it be? 

Hopeful.

  1. What advice do you have for social enterprise legal practitioners in Europe?

Have no doubt that capitalism must reform and social enterprise is the future.

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