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Expat Peter Arnold (Letters, 01.03.07) seems to share, with ex-ARB chairman Humphrey Lloyd, an ignorance of the rule in Vaughn v Taff Valley Railway (1860) which constrains statutory bodies to do only what statute expressly empowers them to do. The ARB has no lawful right to authorise registered architects to use a logo - even with the restriction that it must not be used as an affix.

The ARB cannot police use of the initials ARB by unregistered persons because they can mean anything and are in extensive use in the UK. For instance, in the Health and Safety Executive's ARB News, the initials refer to arborists and aboriculturists. Furthermore, the ARB has no jurisdiction outside the UK. The initials 'ARB' are used by numerous foreign companies in their registered names and by at least two European Institutes (Académie Royale de Belgique and Asocia¸ia Româna a Bancilor). In contrast, the affix RIBA is authorised by charter for use by chartered architects worldwide, and is protected in the UK by trademark registration.

I warn Mr Arnold not to use the affix 'ARB' in the litigious USA. He could find himself part of an expensive lawsuit.

Maurice McCarthy, Chorleywood, Hertfordshire

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