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Stop this ARB madness, now!

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Jill Doe has opened a high-street baker's shop under the name 'The Bread Architects'. She sells traditional cottage loaves and farmhouse loaves, and has successfully introduced a novel new line of workhouse, vicarage, and palace loaves. She is planning to launch a 'designer loaf' service. Is she in any danger from arb?

The words contained in subsection (3) of Section 20 of the Architects Act 1997 have remained unchanged since 1938. They make clear that the Act does not prevent a body corporate, firm or partnership from carrying on business under a name, style or title containing the word 'architect' provided that its business 'so far as it relates to architecture' is under the control and management of a registered person. Thus, a firm with the word 'architect' in its title need not employ a registered person if its business does not relate to architecture.

Ms Doe does not style herself as an architect, and her company is not engaged in the provision of architectural services. There has been no crime. arb can huff and puff and make itself look ridiculous, but it cannot harm her.

Most practising architects willingly pay the arb tax in the naive belief that it protects their title. Astragal (aj 4.2.99) thinks a firm calling itself Internet Architects is a matter for the arb. My favourite bread and cake shop rejoices in the name 'The Horse with the Red Umbrella'.

Truth is indeed stranger than fiction.

MAURICE MCCARTHY

Cattistock, Dorset

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