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Contents

- Judicial interpretation relating to Part III : some useful guidance on the meaning of "standards", "serious" and "unacceptable".

- Discipline and questionable PCC decisions : powers, duties and criticisms of the PCC.

- Case Study 1 : procedural irregularities and two perverse decisions in consideration of charges brought under Code Standard 8.

- Case Study 2 (Part 1) : a similar case, involving the apprehension of a real possibility of bias.

- Case Study 2 (continued - Part 2) : the PCC decide and a question of incongruity arises. 

- Note on Part III of the Architects Act 1997.

- Case Study 2 (continued - Part 3) - QC advises that the architect has an obvious and complete defence.

- Case Study 2 (continued - Part 4) - "Judicial nonsense".

- Case Study 2 (continued - Part 5) - A Court decision in favour of the architect.

- Case Study 2 (continued - Parts 6, 7 and 8) - (6) The Court rules architect's application for judicial review "plainly justified" - 14 October 2008; (7) the case is remitted by Consent Order of the High Court - 21 August 2009; and (8) the proceedings are withdrawn - 7 April 2010.

- Case Study 2 (continued - Parts 9 and 10) - Report on outcome of proceedings.

- Case Study 2 (continued - Part 11) - How the Board deals with the result.

 Case Study 2 (continued - Part 12) - ARB misclaims "new evidence".

 Case Study 2 (continued - Part 13) - New Guidance - December 2010.

Case study 1

In 2006 two entirely blameless architects were charged and convicted under its then PII policy. 

Certain applications were made on 10 January 2006 of which one is reproduced here, following an explanatory introduction. Despite its close reasoning, on 11 January the Professional Conduct Committee gave its decision to reject the application, with reasons.

The substantive decisions on the two cases, made on 19 January 2006, has led to the emergence of some basic criticisms of the PCC.  For instance, the following questions have been asked by those who were present at the hearings:

●    Why were the defendants denied the opportunity to reply to the submissions of the board's solicitor?

●    Why was the board's solicitor permitted to claim privilege over a document that he had disclosed; and in this connection, why were the defending architects not permitted the chance to argue that once disclosed, privilege is lost?

●    Why were the charges confused, referring in one case to submissions made in the other?

●    A finding of unacceptable professional conduct must refer to the circumstances at the time of the conduct that is called into question.  How can a finding on a point of law have any bearing on the circumstances in which the conduct has to be examined?

●    How, when it came to sentencing one architect, could a finding of vexatious behaviour be made against him (a highly insulting criticism) when no such suggestion had been made during the course of the hearing and when the character evidence that had been adduced was entirely to the contrary?

●     How can conduct "unacceptable to the board" ever be considered "unacceptable professional conduct" by any objective ascertainment?

AARUK is concerned by the result of these two hearings.  Those who were present were as impressed by the dignity, probity and high ethical standards of the two architects as they were shocked by the apparent failings of the Committee.

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Architects Act
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