Case Study 2, Part 5 — a question of principle


It has been reported in the Press that the architect was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct in November 2007.  (BD, 25 July 2008)

The architect has made available to AARUK a copy of the formal order made by the judge (Mr Justice Plender) when giving judgment on 23 July in the Administrative Court of the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court (C016834/2008), on an application for judicial review and interim relief made by the architect and opposed by the ARB.

In the Statement of Facts and Grounds upon which the Court’s order was based it had been explained to the Court that the position of the architect was “one of principle”.

The case advanced against the architect was limited to a breach of a requirement [claimed by the ARB] to provide evidence, as prescribed by the ARB’s Code Standard 8, that he had the required level of professional indemnity insurance. (The actual fact that the architect did have such insurance cover was not in dispute.)

According to the Statement (supported by a witness statement of the architect’s solicitor):

“The question of principle which divides the ARB and the Claimant is one of legality, namely whether Standard 8 of the Code is intra vires [within the powers] of the ARB. ... There is no provision in the 1997 Act which requires an architect to have in place professional indemnity as a condition of becoming registered and no express provision which in terms empowers the ARB to include such a requirement in the Code of Conduct made under s.13 of the 1997 Act... cf, for example, s.44C of the Medical Act 1983 which makes express provision for a Medical Practitioner to have ‘adequate and appropriate’ indemnity arrangements in force”.

To an independent observer, present at all the PCC hearings and who heard the application made in court, it appears that the PCC has gone to some lengths to prevent the architect from effectively presenting his case; and that anyone who reads the many pages of transcripts of the hearings held by the PCC, and of the Decisions pronounced by the Chairman at the PCC sittings, is likely to find the same.      

An AARUK contributor, 4 August 2008