An unequal standard across Europe - 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 - 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 duty to consult

The ARB's Prescription Procedures at Appendix 3 require applications from schools of architecture to include "a report based on one or more visits by a body which includes professionals from both architectural education and practice and lay persons.  The report must state whether all ARB's criteria have been met by those who have received the qualification".  The RIBA is the only organisation that can provide that requirement through its Visiting Boards. 

Inquirers and policy-makers may therefore question the ARB's 2006 prescription of Nottingham Trent University's BA(Hons) degree course in architecture.  The ARB states: "There is no Visiting Board Report available for this institution", which is unremarkable because the first intake of students in not expected before September 2006.

A further question may arise over Edinburgh University's new post-graduate Masters degree in Digital Media. Here it appears that the RIBA were not consulted at all, even though this is a new course.  Such consultation is a requirement of s.4(3) of the Architects Act, which requires that "Before prescribing ... qualifications ... the Board shall consult the bodies representative of architects which are incorporated by royal charter ..."

[ back to education contents] [ back to front page ] [ next]

Architects Act
Architects Registration Board
- education
- competence to practise
Professional standards - the code, etc
Use of title
Links to websites:
chartered bodies
- historical notes