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On 26 November 2012 in the North and East Devon Magistrates’ Court, Mr Malcolm Capstick, trading as Smart Design Group, pleaded guilty to three charges in respect of using the title ‘architect’ on advertising material when he was not legally entitled to do so.

Although initially assuring the Board to the contrary, Mr Capstick continued to use the term ‘Chartered Architect’ on the website for Smart Design Group and on promotional material distributed for the firm at a trade show. Despite several requests, Mr Capstick failed to provide any real assurance that he would refrain from using the promotional material in future, and failed to amend the website content for Smart Design Group.

In mitigation, Mr Capstick said that his intention was to go into business with a Chartered Architect, although he hadn’t named any individual prior to the hearing date. He further said that his website designer, who also attended the hearing, had failed to make the requested amendments to the site in question.

After considering mitigation, the Court awarded the total sum of £7872.24 against Mr Capstick.


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, Professional Standards Manager, on 020 7580 5861 or by email at

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