Jonathan has represented Architects at FTP Hearings before the Architect’s Registration Board (ARB) and is familiar with the rules and procedures at this regulator.
Attending FTP hearings at the ARB can be a daunting experience for Architects. Getting the right advice at the review and investigation stages of the disciplinary process is crucial. This is particularly important at this regulator because architects are often given a choice between accepting a consent order or proceeding to a full hearing (see below).
Should you find yourself facing a Professional Conduct Committee you should really consider instructing a lawyer. Jonathan has experience of cases before the PCC concerning complaints of unacceptable professional conduct. These include cases where the Architect has not had any professional indemnity insurance in place or when it has lapsed, complaints about professional services, no terms of engagement and cases of dishonesty.
One of the unusual features of this regulatory body are the limited penalties available to the Professional Conduct Committee (PCC). Unlike other regulators the ARB has no provision for “conditions of practice orders” to monitor and rehabilitate an architect’s practice.
The PCC only has a limited choice of penalties available, namely a reprimand, a fine (up-to £5000), suspension or removal.
In certain circumstances the ARB can offer what is know as a “consent order”. This however requires an acceptance by the Architect that they have done something wrong. It may also stipulate certain “terms” that the architect must comply with. Whilst this may be a good mechanism for avoiding a drawn out FTP hearing it has to be on offer in the first place. Also consent orders are not available once the hearing starts so you cant change your mind if things go wrong.
Complaints can therefore have serious consequences for an architect’s career if they are not properly dealt with. Balancing the choice between accepting a consent order or contesting the facts can be a difficult decision. Getting the right legal advice at this early stage is often the difference between success and failure.
If you are facing a complaint, have received a Form A Consent Order or have an ARB fitness to practise hearing, call 020 7526 4825 or email email@example.com.