An unequal standard across Europe 1 - illustrating the irrational requirement for the RIBA Part III qualification from those applying for registration from the United Kingdom while requiring only the equivalent of an RIBA Part II qualification from those applying from the EU.
A challenge to the unequal standard across Europe - Case Study 4, Part 1 - describing the injustice of how an established and successful practitioner who would be qualified to practise and to describe himself as an architect within the European Union is prevented from doing so in the United Kingdom and the Union by rule of the Architects Registration Board. (23 November 2010)
Case Study 4, Part 2 (4 April 2011): With the Appellant's permission we publish the Opinion of Mr Craig Morrison (Brick Court Chambers) here for the information of inquirers and policy-makers. Its conclusion is that the Applicant had two arguable grounds on which to challenge the decision of the Board, namely (1) that it resulted in indefensible inconsistency as regards UK and EU-trained applicants, but that (for the reasons given in the Opinion) counsel believed that this ground was likely to be unsuccessful on appeal; and (2) that the Board’s approach to s.4(1)(b) is contrary to the requirements of the Architects Act 1997, and (in Counsel's view) the second ground had much greater force as a matter of principle (but would be unlikely to lead to the overturning of the Board’s decision as regards the Applicant on the particular facts of this case).
The duty to consult - illustrating concerns raised by the Board's approach to statutory consultation when prescribing qualifications.
The ARB's own examinations - illustrating a means of circumventing the Board's much criticised examinations.
Architectural education in the United Kingdom : Examinations, qualifications and reasonable expectations - This note, published on 2 June 2007 on a separate page, has been submitted by a contributor for the information of inquirers and policy-makers, particularly having regard to the topics of eligibility for membership of the RIBA, mutual recognition of qualifications among EEA States, and freedom to practise as an architect worldwide. To the article ( To PDF version)
Case study 3 - Does the Architects Act comply with EU requirements? (November 2008)
Validation of courses or the prescription of qualifications? An AARUK contributor, in a letter to Board Members on 9 May 2009, argues that the current practice of the Board is to validate architectural courses rather than (as permitted by the Act) to prescribe qualifications. He suggests that the whole of the Board's involvement with "learning outcomes" should be unravelled so that the Board can deliver its statutory duty to prescribe qualifications to the equivalent level of RIBA Part II, and no higher.
The Registrar is bound, under section 4 of the Architects Act, to register any person who applies for registration if that person has "such qualifications and has gained such practical experience as may be prescribed".
An alternative route to registration is to satisfy the board that an equivalent standard of competence has been achieved.
The standard of qualification is not equal for all candidates. A matrix can be applied as follows:
The disparity arose from the European Directive on Mutual Recognition of Qualifications in Architecture 85/384/EC, now repealed. Article 4 of the main text of that Directive had stated that the total length of education and training would consist of a minimum of either four years of full-time studies at a university or comparable educational establishment or at least six years of study at a university or comparable educational establishment of which at least three must be full time.
As this was a minimum requirement there was nothing to stop a country applying higher standards to those obtaining qualifications and experience within its own jurisdiction. However it is widely held (and expressed in the report of the late Michael Highton to the RIBA Council) that any challenge to this disparity is likely to succeed on the grounds of irrationality. The report stated: "In our view it is only a matter of time before a UK student, who has been denied registration on the grounds that he or she has not passed the Part 3 examination, yet who has been educated in the UK and achieved two years practical experience in the UK, successfully challenges such a decision on the basis that it is irrational to require a UK based student to possess a higher level of qualification and experience than is required of a non-UK based student or architect. "
The RIBA may wish to note that if, on challenge, ARB is required to reduce its registration requirement to four years full-time study, there is no reason why the RIBA should lower its entry standard.
|Architects Registration Board|
|- competence to practise|
|Professional standards - the code, etc|
|Use of title|
|Links to websites:|
|- chartered bodies|
|- historical notes|