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Ernst & Young has opened the way for multidisciplinary practices (MDPs) in The Netherlands after the Dutch Bar gave it the go-ahead for its accountancy and legal businesses to profit share.
Under the agreement, the firm's accountants will have no say in the organisation of the legal side of the business, to avoid breaching Dutch law society rules.
The partnership involved - one of three E&Y firms in The Netherlands - is a tax law specialist employing both lawyers and tax advisers.
The other two, which consist of accountants and management consultants, are not affected by the decision.
The move has come about following the merger of Banning Van Kemenade, Van Bentham & Keulen with Ernst & Young's Rotterdam-based tax advice department.
"The Dutch Bar has always recognised the lawyers working for multidisciplinary partnerships as lawyers, but this agreement, which has taken two years, recognises that lawyers can be related to MDPs," explains Ernst & Young's Dutch chairman Hans van Gijzen.
However, accountants wor-king for the tax law partnership will not be able to vote on the firm's future direction, although they will share in the profits.