On 7 December 2017 a Ms Sofia Kasapantoniou of Tower Hamlets, London was convicted on four counts of the criminal offence of misusing the title ‘Architect’. Thames Magistrates’ Court heard that Ms Kasapantoniou had used the title on her LinkedIn profile despite not being registered and continued to misuse the title while ignoring ARB’s numerous warnings. Part of ARB’s evidence against Ms Kasapantoniou included an email holding herself out to a new employer as being a registered architect and fabricating a registration number.
Thames Magistrates Court took the view that these were serious breaches and, after taking into account Sofia Kasapantoniou’s guilty pleas, imposed a fine of £2,304 with a further £2,131 in costs and surcharges.
At a separate hearing on 7 December 2017 at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court, a Mr Eric Wessels of Planning and Projects Ltd in Waltham Forest, London pleaded guilty to using the title ‘architects’ on the practice’s website and on his LinkedIn profile despite being repeatedly told to remove the protected title by ARB. Taking into account the guilty plea and the defendant’s means, the Court sentenced him to a twelve month conditional discharge on each charge and made a costs order in the sum of £3,000.
A spokesperson on behalf of ARB’s Professional Standards Department said:
‘For an individual to continue to use the title when they are not on the Register undermines the regulatory purpose of the Architects Act. Both Ms Sofia Kasapantoniou and Mr Eric Wessels chose to ignore the legal restrictions surrounding the use of the title and the Courts demonstrated a willingness to protect the public from those illegally calling themselves an architect. We will continue to monitor both individuals’ trading style and if necessary recommence legal action. Anyone wishing to use the services of an architect should check the Register of Architects at www.architects-register.org.uk’
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)
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, Head of Professional Standards, on 020 7580 5861 or by email at email@example.com.