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Dowland v Architects Registration Board (2013) EWHC 893 (Admin)

Sarah Ellson
10/05/2013
D was a former architect appealing against the Architects Registration Board's refusal to re-enter his name on the Register of Architects.D had previously been declared bankrupt after failing to pay D was a former architect appealing against the Architects Registration Board's refusal to re-enter his name on the Register of Architects.

D had previously been declared bankrupt after failing to pay judgment debts and had failed to report the fact he was bankrupt to the Registrar. In 2008 the Professional Conduct Committee found that D's conduct amounted to 'unacceptable professional conduct' and he was erased from the Register. D did not appeal that finding.

After two years had passed, it was open to D to apply for re-entry on to the Register. In 2009 the Appellant had been made subject to a 7 year Bankruptcy Restriction Order. In 2010 he applied for re-entry on the Register and the Board rejected the application adopting the recommendations of the Registrar.

D appealed on the basis that the decision was ultra vires, as the Board had applied the wrong test, that it was manifestly unfair to rely on the 2009 Bankruptcy Restriction Order to extend the erasure period beyond the original two years, and that the refusal was disproportionate and contrary to his human rights. He argued that it was not open to the Board to refuse his application to be re-admitted other than on the basis that it took an adverse view of his competence, which had not been called into question.

As a prior issue, the High Court held that the proper basis of challenge in respect of the refusal to re-enter D's name on the Register was not an appeal under the Architects' Act 1997, but a claim for judicial review on conventional Public Law grounds, which he had not issued. The High Court further held that, in any event, the Board had a broad discretion and not exceeded its powers in refusing re-entry.

With respect to the argument relating to the Appellant's Human Rights, although it was accepted that the professional sphere may form part of the individual's private life, it was held not to follow that every interference with professional life engaged Article 8. Even if it did, in this case the interference was in accordance with law and amounted to a proportionate means of protecting the public from unacceptable professional misconduct by an architect.

Read the case here.

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