The Partnership was founded by John Spedan Lewis in 1929 and exists because of his extraordinary vision and ideals. He transferred ownership of the Company into a trust to be held for the benefit of its members under two Settlements in 1929 and 1950. The business became known as the John Lewis Partnership and the members, its employees, became known as Partners.

The Partnership is governed according to its written Constitution, its Articles of Association and the Companies Act. It also complies with the Listing Rules and Disclosure and Transparency Rules applicable to a Standard Listed company on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). The Partnership voluntarily seeks to apply the UK Corporate Governance Code (the Code), issued by the Financial Reporting Council, dated June 2010 and amended October 2012, except where its co-ownership model, enshrined in its Constitution, establishes its own governance mechanisms.

The Constitution's Principles define the Partnership's aims and ultimate purpose and its Rules are statements of general policy. The Constitution provides a framework of governance and delegation of authority to safeguard the Partnership's future, to enhance its prosperity and to ensure its integrity. The Code provides a guide in general terms to principles, structure and processes for good governance suitable for companies with external shareholders and other stakeholders. A full explanation of the Partnership's 'comply and explain' position, in relation to the Code is set out in its Governance Report of its most recent annual report and accounts.

Source documents for the Partnership's governance mechanisms can be found following the links below: