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At a hearing of the Architects Registration Board’s Professional Conduct Committee  in London on 29 January and 4 April 2014, Mr (James) Robert Weighton of Stamford, Lincolnshire was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct and suspended for two years from the Register of Architects.

Mr Weighton was instructed in September 2008 to carry out work on a proposed development within the grounds of an hotel in Devon.

The Committee heard that between 2009 and 2012, Mr Weighton had provided his client with various updates about meetings and/or communications that had taken place with the local authority’s planning department, and indicating that a planning application had been submitted. However, it transpired that no such application had ever been submitted.

Mr Weighton denied that he had misled or intended to mislead the Complainant that a planning application had been submitted.

The Committee found the architect’s evidence was contradictory and inconsistent,  and concluded  that he had deliberately led his client to believe that a planning application had been submitted. It decided that Mr Weighton’s statements about the status of the planning application amounted to dishonest misrepresentation.

In deciding on what sanction to impose, the Committee considered that Mr Weighton lacked any insight into his dishonesty, and thus the seriousness of his actions, but that his behaviour was not at the extreme end of misconduct since it involved no criminal offending, nor personal gain, nor substantial loss to clients.

Because of this, the Panel considered the appropriate sanction was suspension from the Register for a period of two years.

A copy of the Committee’s decision can be found here.

—ENDS—

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Notes for Editors

ARB is the statutory body established by Parliament under the Architects Act 1997 to regulate the UK architects’ profession in the public interest. The Act requires ARB (among other things) to:

  • Maintain the Register of Architects (Section 3)
  • Prescribe qualifications for entry to the Register of Architects (Section 4)
  • Deal with competence to practise (Section 9)
  • Issue a Code which lays down standards of professional conduct and practice (Section 13)
  • Regulate use of the title “architect” and prosecute those who use it unlawfully (Section 20)

 

The PCC is established under Schedule 1, Part II of the Architects Act and is required to consider any report referred to it. The Committee determines whether an architect is guilty of unacceptable professional conduct or serious professional incompetence. Where a guilty finding is made, the Committee will consider whether to make a disciplinary order, which means:

  • a reprimand
  • a penalty order
  • a suspension order (to a maximum of 2 years); or
  • an erasure order

 

Money raised by fines imposed by the Professional Conduct Committee is paid to HM Treasury.

Any queries relating to this matter should be directed to professionalstandards@arb.org.uk

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