The current political climate in the UK is arguably more conducive to associationalism than previous regimes. This paper engages with Paul Hirst’s work, focusing in particular on the legal and regulatory conditions that would need to be in place to support a transition towards associative democracy. The social economy is the obvious vehicle for associational reform. However, an analysis of the legal and regulatory forms associated with the social economy in the UK indicates that the current framework will not easily facilitate transition. The analysis opens up challenging questions for how to regulate the democratic element of associative democracy.