On 14 December 2018 Mr John Priestley of London was convicted of three counts of the criminal offence of misusing the title ‘architect’. Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard that Mr Priestley continued to represent himself as a “UK registered and Chartered Architect” despite not having his name on the Architects Register since 2010, contrary to section 20 of the Architects Act 1997. Mr Priestley continued to do so despite numerous warnings from ARB, the professions’ regulator.
The three charges were in relation to the John Priestley Associates’ website and Mr Priestley’s online business profile. Taking into account the defendant’s reluctance to engage with ARB and his absence from court, the magistrates imposed a combined fine of £3,000 on Mr Priestley, and a further £3240 in costs and surcharges, creating a total of £6240 to be paid within 14 days.
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.
It is hoped that the criminal convictions, fines and the negative publicity associated with cases such as this will act as a deterrent for others who may use the title illegally.
In regulating misuse of the title ‘architect’ the objective of ARB is to limit the harm as swiftly and effectively as possible. ARB will continue to monitor Mr Priestley’s trading style and take further appropriate action as necessary.
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 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.
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