In brief: Dutch bar heads off MDP threat in court

The Dutch Bar has staved off preliminary attempts by Big Six accountancy firms Arthur Andersen & Co and Price Waterhouse to establish multi-disciplinary practices in the Netherlands. The district court of Amsterdam found that the existing ban on fully merged accountancy and law practices “is not excessive” and does not conflict with European legislation on competition. The President of the Dutch Bar Association, Tony Hudyecoper, was understandably “very happy” with the decision, which has wide ranging implications for the independence of lawyers throughout Europe and has been closely monitored by the profession.