Entry into the legal professions is restricted by qualitative and quantitative entry barriers, as well as exclusive rights for providing certain services (e.g., legal representation in courts and transfer of real estate property with full effect vis-à-vis third parties). Other restrictions concern different modes of professional conduct, including regulated prices, prohibitions of advertising and partnerships and restraints on particular forms of business organisation. These anti-competitive rules are contained in both statutory law and self-regulatory rules issued by professional bodies enjoying public law status (Orders or Chambers). In recent years, the existing restrictions on competition have been increasingly challenged by competition authorities. As a consequence, several EU Member States have removed restrictions on prices and advertising and farther reaching deregulatory measures relating to entry into the legal professions are equally considered. This paper reports on the regulatory reforms of the legal professions that have occurred in two different EU jurisdictions: England/Wales and the Netherlands. Both jurisdictions have a long lasting experience in the field of deregulation measures in several sectors of industry, including the legal services markets.
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- Towards Beneficial Competition in the Legal Professions: Lessons from England/Wales and the Netherlands
Prof. Dr. Roger Van den Bergh
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