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This site is based on Disciplinary and Regulatory Proceedings, 8th Edition
Disciplinary and Regulatory Proceedings is the leading work on this important and dynamic area of law. For 20 years it has provided authoritative guidance to lawyers, tribunals, and other experts dealing with professional discipline and regulation.

Professional incompetence

‘The (Architects Act 1997) distinguishes between serious professional incompetence and unacceptable professional conduct. However, as must be obvious, there is a considerable overlap between the two and particular acts or omissions could be charged under either head. But in my view the standard applicable should not differ and unless what has been done or not done in an individual case can be regarded as a serious lapse it would not be appropriate to impose a disciplinary sanction. Only in that way can proper weight be given to the adjective unacceptable.’

Per Collins J. in Vranicki v Architects Registration Board [2007] EWHC 506 (Admin)

As to the charging of particular of professional incompetence the learned judge added, ‘the PCC was in my judgment wrong in the sense that it was unnecessary to decide that each individual allegation that they found proved established serious professional incompetence. What they should have done was to consider all the allegations which were found proved to decide whether together they established the charge against the appellant.’

NOTE: The Architects Registration Board have issued guidance as to what amounts to Serious professional incompetence, namely a serious failure to meet the standard of competence required of an architect. The guidance goes on to say that ‘Only acts of incompetence that might be considered serious can be considered by the Professional Conduct Committee._Because the facts and circumstances of each case are different, it is not possible to identify the exact point at which incompetence becomes serious incompetence. But some features of a case make it more likely to be viewed as serious: • When the consequences are or could be particularly serious – for example, death or injury

• When an architect's standard of competence falls dramatically below that expected

• When an architect knowingly acts or continues to act incompetently, or attempts to cover up incompetence

• When an architect fails to maintain proper records of the terms of engagement, scope of work or fees to be charged, or other matters

• When incompetence is particularly likely to reduce public confidence in registered architects

• When a number of complaints or events, though not serious in themselves, together demonstrate a pattern of incompetence

• When a pattern of incompetence suggests an architect may not act competently in the future.’


4th Edition » | Chapter 4