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Andersen Legal has stepped up its campaign to defeat a ban preventing it from allying with lawyers in the Netherlands with the publication of a report accusing the Dutch Bar of protectionism.The report, which was unveiled during the IBA conference and will be distributed to clients, rehearses the arguments that the accountancy giant will put before the European Court of Justice (ECJ) as part of a long battle to get the ban, originally imposed by the Rotterdam Bar Association, overturned. “Throughout, the debate on the issue has been characterised as accountants controlling, and even unduly interfering in, the work of lawyers,” it says. “This is how the bar in the Netherlands and bars in other countries have tried to spin the debate, painting pictures of doom for the legal profession. This is nonsense. Issues relating to accountants and lawyers working together in either the same or associated practices can be – and in other jurisdictions already have been – resolved to the satisfaction of both professions and, importantly, their clients.”Jos Wouters, the founding senior partner of Andersens’ Dutch ally, Wouters Advocaten & Notarissen, described the ban as “blatantly self-protectionist”, saying it was designed to exclude accountants from competing with lawyers in the Dutch legal market.However, he conceded that in its submission to the ECJ, the European Commission has argued that the ban is in the public interest.Wouters said he expected the ECJ to hear the case either later this year or at the beginning of next year. Once it has made its decision, the case will be referred back to the Dutch Supreme Court, which will make a final ruling.

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