Andersen Legal attacks Dutch Bar

Andersen Legal has sent a warning to the Dutch Bar by publishing a critical report on the bar’s ban of associations between law firms and accountants.

The report, entitled “Fair Competition and the Practice of Law in The Netherlands”, was released at the International Bar Association (IBA) conference in Amsterdam on 22 September. It attacks the ruling that multidisciplinary practices are permitted in The Netherlands, except where they involve accountants. Cooperative associations with accountants are also prohibited.

The accountancy giant is awaiting its day at the European Court of Justice against the Dutch Bar, which is expected to come before the beginning of the new year. It is challenging the bar’s right to impose the ruling against its Dutch firm Wouters Advocaten & Notarissen.

The report attacks the “unfair restraints” against Andersen Legal, and says “some entrenched law firms and legal cultures have sought to erect barriers to Andersen Legal’s success”. It suggests that the Dutch Bar sees the network as a threat to Dutch firms.