PwC snubs ECJ by defying Dutch ban

Accountancy giant PricewaterhouseCoopers is snubbing the European Court of Justice and going ahead with the launch of its legal services division Landwell.

PwC and Arthur Andersen's dispute with the Dutch bar over the ban on multidisciplinary partnerships (MDPs) was referred to the ECJ in August this year.

But PwC is now unwilling to wait for judgment before relaunching its legal services under the Landwell umbrella.

Marcel van Oosten, PwC's head of legal in The Netherlands, says: “We will join Landwell on 1 July. We can't wait.”

He adds that the battle with the bar is being treated as a separate matter.

PwC plans to integrate its law firm network under the name of Landwell as various countries' national bar rules prohibit legal services from using accountants' names.

The dispute between The Netherlands Bar Association and the two accountancy giants has gone on for five years.

Van Oosten says: “We set up Legal Services as an in-house law firms five years ago. We have 120 people working with us and we will have to transform these people into regulated lawyers.”

He reveals that PwC's new allied notary firm Voorneman is set to join Landwell on its launch next year.

A UK-based Landwell spokeswoman says different launch dates have been set depending on the jurisdiction.