Andersens appeals Dutch MDPs ban

Arthur Andersen is gearing up for a High Court challenge in Holland against a ban on multidisciplinary partnerships.

Arthur Andersen, which has its own law firm, Wouters, in Holland, and Price Waterhouse, which wants to establish its own law firm, lost the first round of their legal battles with the Dutch Bar in the district court of Amsterdam earlier this year.

Both firms have now lodged separate appeals to The Hague, the site of the highest court in Holland.

Christo van Gennep, the national managing partner for Arthur Andersen's tax and legal practice, said the hearing would take place at the end of this year or the start of 1998.

He claimed the marketplace and tide of opinion in Holland was shifting in favour of the accountancy firms.

“We remain the only one of the Big Five accountants with a law firm but Ernst & Young are in a co-operation deal with two law firms while Deloitte & Touche have a similar arrangement in Rotterdam.

“Public opinion in general has changed. In the current climate I think a compromise with the authorities is possible.”