On 13 December 2019 Mr Sohail Chohan and his company Sterling Design and Management Ltd, of Watford, Hertfordshire were convicted of seven charges of the criminal offence of misusing the title ‘architect’ on Mr Chohan’s LinkedIn profile and Companies House listing.
Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard that Mr Chohan was carrying out business using the title ‘architect’ on drawings, their online presence and listings at Companies House despite not being registered as an architect. The Court heard Mr Chohan continued these offences despite numerous warnings from ARB, the UK regulator of architects.
Taking into account the defendant’s financial situation and his early guilty plea, the District Judge imposed penalties totalling £1,700 in addition to the criminal conviction.
It is hoped that the criminal convictions, fines and the negative publicity associated with title misuse prosecutions will act as a deterrent for those who may otherwise have used the title illegally.
In regulating misuse of the title ‘architect’ ARB’s objective is to limit the harm as swiftly and effectively as possible. Mr Chohan and Sterling Design and Management Ltd will have 28 days to make the necessary changes. ARB will continue to monitor their trading style and take further appropriate action as necessary.
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. 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.
o ARB’s Misuse of Title Policy can be found on our website here.
For further information please contact Kate Howlett (ARB Communications Manager) on 020 7580 5861 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.