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On 7 June 2019 Mr John Priestley of London was convicted of three counts of the criminal offence of misusing the title ‘architect’ whilst not on the Architects Register.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard that Mr Priestley has continued to misuse the title ‘architect’ and ‘RIBA’ affix despite being convicted of the same offence in December 2018. Mr Priestley has not had his name on the Architects Register since 2010, which means his subsequent use of the title is in breach of section 20 of the Architects Act 1997.

The three charges were in relation to the John Priestley Associates’ website and Mr Priestley’s online business profile. Taking into account his previous conviction, lack of engagement with ARB, and his absence from court, the magistrates imposed a combined fine of £4,500, and a further £1,661 in costs and surcharges, creating a total of £6,161 to be paid within 28 days.

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.

In response to this further conviction, Simon Howard, ARB’s Head of Professional Standards, said: “It is rare for criminal conviction to not provide sufficient deterrent. We will continue to monitor Mr Priestley’s use of title and consider alternative action as necessary. Anyone can check the Architects Register to make sure an individual has the right to use the title ‘architect’ in the UK.


Notes for Editors

o ARB has a Board of 11 members all appointed by the Privy Council. This includes one independent, non-executive Chair and ten non-executive Board members made up of five members of the public and five architects.

o The Architects Registration Board (ARB) is the statutory body established by Parliament under the Architects Act 1997 to regulate the UK architects’ profession in the public interest. Among other duties, the Act requires ARB to:
– Maintain the Architects Register
– Prescribe the qualifications needed to become an architect in the UK
– Issue a code laying down the standards of professional conduct and practice expected of architects
– Investigate allegations of unacceptable professional conduct or serious professional incompetence
– Investigate and where appropriate prosecute unregistered individuals who unlawfully call themselves an architect
– Act as the UK’s Competent Authority for architects

o The maximum fine for each offence, currently £2,500, is set by the Architects Act 1997.

o ARB’s Misuse of Title Policy can be found on our website here.

For further information, please contact Kate Howlett, Communications Lead, on 020 7580 5861 or by email at

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