Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Bridge Street premises in Scottish Legal "first" prosecution

On 30 October 2013, CM Design of Elgin, Moray, Scotland pleaded guilty to offences under Sections 20 and 21 of the Architects Act 1997 for misusing the title ‘architect’.

The Procurator Fiscal brought a case that CM Design did not have an individual registered with the Architects Registration Board but had continued to use the title ‘architect’ as part of its trading style, despite numerous warnings from ARB that it was acting illegally.

The Inverness Sheriff Court fined CM Design £400 and ordered the practice to remove the offending signage referencing ‘architects’ from both offices.

A spokesperson on behalf of ARB’s Professional Standards Department said:
‘CM Design failed to co-operate with ARB and continued to use the title ‘architects’ despite several warnings that they had no right to do so. This is the first Scottish case to be brought by the Procurator Fiscal relating to misuse of the title ‘architect’, and represents a very positive outcome. For a practice to hold themselves out as architects when they are not is misleading to the public, and will be dealt with by the Courts accordingly.’  

Picture above is of the Bridge Street premises of CM Design in Nairn and a sign that has now been removed. Gurnites may wish to read some further information about the ARB and their statutory powers by clicking the read more tab.

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 regulate use of the title “architect” and to take action when it is being used unlawfully (Section 20).
ARB has a Board of 15 members, seven of whom are architects elected by the profession. The remaining eight are members of the public appointed by the Privy Council to represent the interests of consumers and users of architectural services.
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.