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On 16 July 2014, Direct Planning Ltd of Orpington, Kent pleaded guilty to eight separate counts under Sections 20 and 21 of the Architects Act 1997 for misusing the title ‘architect’.

Bromley Magistrates Court heard that Direct Planning Ltd did not have a registered architect in control and management of its architectural work, but had continued to refer to itself as ‘Architects’ on its signage, correspondence, drawings and advertising – despite numerous warnings from the Architects Registration Board (ARB) that it was acting illegally.

Bromley Magistrates Court decided that Direct Planning Ltd should be fined £2,000 for the offence, and ordered the practice to pay a further £3,000 to ARB in costs.

A spokesperson on behalf of ARB’s Professional Standards Department said:

Only registered architects are legally allowed to use the title ‘architect’ in business or practice. The ARB takes seriously its duty to represent the interests of users of architects’ services, and will pursue legal proceedings when it considers it to be in the public interest. Anyone wishing to use the services of an architect should check the Register of Architects at ‘

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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 regulate use of the title “architect” and to take action when it is being used unlawfully (Section 20).

ARB has a Board of 15 members, seven of whom are architects elected by the profession. The remaining eight are members of the public appointed by the Privy Council to represent the interests of consumers and users of architectural services.

The maximum fine for each offence, currently £2500, is set by the Architects Act 1997. Magistrates determine the amount of the fine (and related costs) after considering the nature of the offence and any mitigation put forward by the defendant. Money raised from fines is paid to HM Treasury, not to ARB.

For further information, please contact Simon Howard, Professional Standards Manager, on 020 7580 5861, or by email on

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