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Speedy approval of PCC extension was ill-judged

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The ODPM acted with unseemly haste in bringing the Statutory Instrument (SI) that enlarged the ARB's Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) into force, for alas it was on the statute book even before Dr Evan Harris and his parliamentary colleagues tabled their Praying Motion (News, AJ 27.5.04).

The importance of the Liberal Democrat motion is nevertheless undiminished, for it is an ancient and respected doctrine of our common law that nobody shall be a judge in their own cause. Enlarging the PCC, so as to include members of the board itself on the disciplinary tribunals, not only flies in the face of this principle, but fails on human rights compliance as well.

It is important that architects who neglect the reasonable expectations of professional conduct be sanctioned. But it is utterly wrong that the tribunals that judge them should in any way be influenced by those who are encumbered by their decisions in making the ARB's unlawful and over-reaching policies. That is both unfair and unjust - nobody should expect to be judged in that way.

It is curious to recall that the introduction of this SI was defeated in debate by the board, after it had considered at length the human rights issues that were introduced by Nick Tweddell and, in correspondence, by Mark Benzie.

With that decision in mind, all board members appointed to the PCC should now resign from it under the terms of the principles of 'collective responsibility' that Bill Morris introduced in January and which the board, apart from me, accepted.

Ian Salisbury, RIBA presidential candidate

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