On 27 January 2016, Mr Robert Weighton of Stamford, Lincolnshire was ordered to pay over £5,000 in fines and costs after pleading guilty to misusing the title ‘architect’, in breach of the Architects Act 1997.
The prosecution was brought after Mr Weighton continued to use of the title despite being suspended from the Register of Architects following a finding by the Professional Conduct Committee.
Grantham Magistrates’ Court heard that Mr Weighton had continued to use the title on his practice shop signage and on-line directories, despite no longer being registered. Mr Weighton pleaded guilty to all the offences. The Court heard in mitigation that he had made some efforts to comply with the legislation, such as editing his letterhead, but that he had overlooked the signage in his practice window. The Court found that the purpose of the signage was to attract clients and found this to be the most serious offence.
After taking into account his guilty plea, the Court fined Mr Weighton £1,000, and ordered him to pay a further £4,236 to ARB in costs and a victim surcharge of £100.
A spokesperson on behalf of ARB’s Professional Standards Department said:
‘For an individual to continue to use the title whilst not on the Register undermines the regulatory purpose of the Architects Act. The Court demonstrated a willingness to protect the public from those illegally calling themselves an architect. Anyone wishing to use the services of an architect should check the Register of Architects at www.architects-register.org.uk ‘
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.