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ARB insurance rebels win latest battle

Two architects up in front of the ARB's Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) have forced the adjournment of their case.

The pair - who are being charged for refusing to confirm to the ARB that they have Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) - have also forced one of the members trying them to stand down from the committee.

Richard Lyon and John Lewis forced Barbara Saunders to step down from the disciplinary panel because of a perceived conflict of interest. She was a member of the board that agreed to the PII policy in 2003.

After a morning's legal wrangling on Wednesday, Saunders agreed to resign from the PCC and the chairman postponed the hearing until after Christmas.

Lyon and Lewis are members of a small group of architects refusing to cooperate with the ARB's PII policy, which demands that all practitioners must have insurance at a certain level.

This group has the wholehearted support of former ARB rebel Ian Salisbury, who is also refusing to confirm to the board that he has required level of cover.

Salisbury greeted the news of the adjournment with glee, describing it as a 'battle won - but not yet the war'.

The Oxford-based architect also claimed that the Saunders' decision to stand down would leave the successful prosecution earlier this year of four architects on the same charge unsound.

The committee that tried the four also had a member who had voted through the PI policy on the board. Salisbury claimed that this meant the guilty verdict was therefore unsound.

'I'm pretty pleased,' he said. 'It is just possible that this is the beginning of the unravelling of the ARB's mad PI Insurance policy.'

by Ed Dorrell

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