European ruling backs idea of MDPs

The case, involving the Dutch Bar, means the ECJ believes a ban on associations between law and accountancy firms would be anti-competitive in the European Union.

The ruling effectively backs a report from the UK’s Office of Fair Trading last year which said the Law Society’s objections to MDPs would have to end.

In the Netherlands the Dutch Bar had banned MDPs. The ECJ has allowed that to stand while stating that it is an exemption for the Netherlands only and maintaining its position that the ban restricts competition between member states of the EU.

The case had involved Arthur Andersen Belastingadviseurs and its association with a legal practice.

Commenting on the judgment, Tony Williams, managing partner for Andersen Legal said: ‘This will not stop us practising law anywhere around the world. Our goal is to widen the range of services that a lawyer can provide to their clients.’

Related reading