Registration Requirements
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Architects Act 1991

Chapter 12 - Part 7

PART VII
DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS

Section 27 -
Appointment of Investigation Panel

27.- (1) For the purpose of enabling Investigation Committees to be appointed under section 30, the Board shall appoint a panel (referred to in this Act as the Investigation Panel) consisting of -

(a) not less than 10 and not more than 20 registered architects of at least 10 years standing who are not members of the Board; and

(b) not less than 5 and not more than 10 allied professionals or lay persons.

(2) A member of the Investigation Panel shall be appointed for a term of 2 years and shall be eligible for re-appointment.

(3) The Board may, at any time, revoke the appointment of any member of the Investigation Panel or fill any vacancy in its membership.

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Section 28 -
Complaints against registered architects

28. Any complaint concerning -

(a) the conviction of a registered architect of any offence involving fraud, dishonesty or moral turpitude, or implying a defect in character which makes him unfit for his profession;

(b) any improper act or conduct of a registered in his professional capacity which brings disrepute to his profession;

(c) any contravention by a registered architect of any provision of the prescribed code of professional conduct and ethics;

(d) the ability of a registered architect to carry out the duties of an architect effectively in Singapore; or

(e) any failure on the part of a registered architect, while being a director, a manager or an employee of a licensed corporation, or a partner, a manager or an employee of a licensed partnership or limited liability partnership, to take reasonable steps to prevent the corporation, partnership or limited liability partnership from acting in a manner (other than as described in section 26A(1)(e) which would warrant the Board revoking any licence granted to the corporation, partnership or limited liability partnership or imposing a penalty under section 26A(2), shall be made to the Board in writing and shall be supported by such statutory declaration as the Board may require, except that no statutory declaration shall be required if the complaint is made or given by any public officer or officer of the Board.

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Section 29 -
Review of complaints

29.- (1) Subject to subsection (3), the Board shall, upon receiving any complaint under section 28, refer the complaint to the Registrar for review.

(2) The Board may also, on its own motion, refer any information concerning any improper or dishonourable act or conduct of a registered architect to the Registrar for review.

(3) The Board need not refer any complaint or information to the Registrar for review where the complaint or information relates to any matter set out in section 17B(2), and in such a case, the Board may take such action as it thinks fit under that section.

(4) The Registrar -

(a) shall review the complaint or information referred to him for the purpose of determining if there are sufficient merits therein to warrant the institution of disciplinary proceedings under this Part against the registered architect concerned; and

(b) may, for the purpose of conducting such review, enlist the assistance of any registered architect, allied professional or lay person on the Investigation Panel.

(5) In conducting a review under this section, the Registrar may require the complainant (if any) or the registered architect concerned to answer any question or to furnish any document or information that the Registrar considers relevant for the purpose of the review.

(6) On the completion of a review under this section, the Registrar shall -

(a) dismiss the complaint or information, if he finds that the complaint is frivolous, vexatious, misconceived or without merits, or that the information is unsubstantiated;

(b) in a case where the complaint or information relates to the conviction (whether in Singapore or elsewhere) of the registered architect of an offence that -

(i) involves fraud or dishonesty; or

(ii) implies a defect in character which makes the registered architect unfit for his profession, recommend to the Board to refer the matter to a Disciplinary Committee for a formal inquiry; and

(c) in any other case, recommend to the Board to refer the matter to an Investigation Committee for an inquiry.

(7) The Board may, upon accepting the recommendation of the Registrar under subsection (6)(b) or (c), appoint an Investigation Committee or a Disciplinary Committee, as appropriate, and refer the matter thereto for an inquiry or a formal inquiry, as the case may be.

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Section 30 -
Appointment of Investigation Committee

30.- (1) The Board may, from time to time, appoint one or more Investigation Committees comprising -

(a) a chairman who is a member of the Board;

(b) 2 members of the Investigation Panel who are registered architects; and

(c) a member of the Investigation Panel who is an allied professional or a lay person, to inquire into any complaint or information received by the Board under section 28.

(2) A member of the Investigation Panel who has assisted the Registrar in reviewing any complaint or information under section 29(4)(b) shall not be a member of an Investigation Committee inquiring into the same matter.

(3) An Investigation Committee shall be appointed in connection with one or more matters or for a fixed period of time, as the Board thinks fit

(4) The Board may, at any time revoke the appointment of the Chairman or any member of an Investigation Committee or fill any vacancy in an Investigation Committee.

(5) No act done by or under the authority of an Investigation Committee shall be invalid in consequence of any defect that is subsequently discovered in the appointment or qualification of the chairman or members or any of them.

(6) The chairman of an Investigation Committee shall, notwithstanding that he has ceased to be a member of the Board on the expiry of his term of office, continue to be the chairman of the Investigation Committee until such time as the Investigation Committee has completed its work.

(7) A member of an Investigation Committee shall, notwithstanding that he has ceased to be a member of the Investigation Panel on the expiry of his term of office, continue to be a member of the Investigation Committee until such time as the Investigation Committee has completed its work.

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Section 31 -
Powers and procedure of Investigation Committee

31.- (1) For the purposed of any inquiry, an Investigation Committee may require any person -

(a) to attend at a specified time and place and give evidence before the Investigation Committee; and

(b) to produce all books, documents and papers in the custody of such person or under his control which may be related to or be connected with the subject-matter of the inquiry.

(2) Any person who, without lawful excuse -

(a) refuses or fails to comply with any requirement of the Investigation Committee under subsection (1); or

(b) refuses to answer or gives a false answer to any question put to him by a member of the Investigation Committee, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both.

(3) Subject to the rules, an Investigation Committee shall have the power to regulate its own procedure for an inquiry.

(4) An Investigation Committee shall complete its inquiry not later than 3 months from the date on which the matter to be inquired into is referred to it, unless the Board, on application of the Investigation Committee, allows otherwise.

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Section 31A -
Findings of Investigation Committee

31A.- Upon due inquiry into any complaint or information, an Investigation Committee shall report its findings to the Board and recommend to the Board to do any of the following:

(a) order that the complaint or information be dismissed;

(b) order that the registered architect be issued with a letter of advice or a letter of warning;

(c) order that a formal inquiry be held by a Disciplinary Committee;

(d) make such other order as the Investigation Committee considers appropriate.

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Section 31B -
Decision of Board

31B.- (1) Upon receiving the findings and recommendation of an Investigation Committee, the Board may -

(a) accept the recommendation and make the recommended order;

(b) refer the matter back to the Investigation Committee for further inquiry; or

(c) make such other order as the Board thinks fit.

(2) The Board shall not -

(a) issue any letter of advice or letter of warning to a registered architect in accordance with the recommendation of the Investigation Committee under section 31A(b); or

(b) make any other order against the registered architect in accordance with the recommendation of the Investigation Committee under section 31A(d), unless the Board is satisfied that the Investigation Committee had allowed the registered architect concerned an opportunity of being heard either personally or by counsel during the inquiry.

(3) The Board shall notify the person who made the complaint or gave the information, if any, of its decision.

(4) A registered architect who is aggrieved by any advice or order of the Board, being an advice or order referred to in section 31A(b) or (d) may, within 30 days of being notified of the determination of the Board, appeal to the minister whose decision shall be final.

(5) Where the person who made the complaint or gave the information to the Board is dissatisfied with the decision of the Board under section 31A(a), (b) or (d), he may, within 30 days of being notified of the determination of the Board, appeal to the Minister whose decision shall be final.

(6) The Minister may, in relation to an appeal under subsection (4) or (5), make -

(a) an order affirming the decision of the Board;

(b) an order directing a formal inquiry to be held by a Disciplinary Committee; or

(c) such other order as he thinks fit.

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Section 31C -
Appointment of Disciplinary Committee

31C.- (1) The Board may, from time to time, appoint one or more Disciplinary Committees to formally inquire into -

(a) any complaint or information in respect of which the Board or the Minister has, under section 31B, ordered that a formal inquiry be held by a Disciplinary Committee; or

(b) any matter referred to the Board under section 29(6)(b).

(2) A Disciplinary Committee shall comprise not less than 3 registered architects of at least 10 years’ standing, of whom at least 2 shall be members of the Board.

(3) A Disciplinary Committee may be appointed in connection with one or more matters or for a fixed period of time, as the Board thinks fit.

(4) The chairman or a member of an Investigation Committee which inquired into any complaint or information shall not be a member of a Disciplinary Committee inquiring into the same matter.

(5) The Board shall appoint a member of a Disciplinary Committee to be the chairman of the Disciplinary Committee.

(6) The Board may, at any time, revoke the appointment of any Disciplinary Committee or any member thereof, or fill any vacancy in a Disciplinary Committee.

(7) No act done by or under the authority of a Disciplinary Committee shall be invalid in consequence of any defect that is subsequently discovered in the appointment or qualification of the members or any of them.

(8) A member of a Disciplinary Committee shall, notwithstanding that he has ceased to be a member of the Board on the expiry of this term of office, continue to be a member of the Disciplinary Committee until such time the Disciplinary Committee has completed its work.

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Section 31D-
Observer

31D.- (1) The Board shall appoint a member of the Investigation Panel who is an allied professional or a lay person as an observer of the proceedings of a Disciplinary Committee, except that the person appointed must not have assisted the Registrar in reviewing any complaint or information under section 29(4)(b) or been a member of the Investigation Committee which had inquired into the same matter.

(2) The observer shall not vote on any question or matter to be decided by the Disciplinary Committee and need not be present at every meeting of the Disciplinary Committee.

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Section 31E-
Architect to be notified of inquiry

31E.- (1) Before a Disciplinary Committee commences its formal inquiry into any complaint or information referred to it, the Registrar shall serve on the registered architect concerned a notice of the formal inquiry.

(2) An inquiry shall not be fixed on a date earlier than 21 days after the date of the notice of inquiry except with the agreement of the registered architect.

(3) On application to the Disciplinary Committee, the registered architect may request postponement of the formal inquiry, and the Disciplinary Committee may, in its discretion, grant the application and postpone the formal inquiry to such date as it may determine, or refuse the application.

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Section 31F -
Powers and procedure of Disciplinary Committee

31F.- (1) For the purposes of a formal inquiry, a Disciplinary Committee may require any person -

(a) to attend at a specified time and place and give evidence before the Disciplinary Committee; and

(b) to produce all books, documents and papers in the custody of such person or under his control which may be related to or be connected with the subject-matter of the formal inquiry.

(2) Any person who, without lawful excuse -

(a) refuses or fails to comply with any requirement of the Disciplinary Committee under subsection (1); or

(b) refuses to answer or gives a false answer to any question put to him by a member of the Disciplinary Committee, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $5,000 to or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both.

(3) The Disciplinary Committee -

(a) shall not be bound to act in any formal manner and shall not be bound by the provisions of the Evidence Act (Cap.97) or by any other written law relating to evidence, but may inform itself on any matter in such manner as it thinks fit;

(b) may administer an oath or affirmation to any person giving evidence before it; and

(c) may, subject to the rules, regulate its own procedure for a formal inquiry.

(4) Any party to the proceedings before a Disciplinary Committee may sue out writs of subpoena ad testificandum and of duces tecum, and such writs shall be served and may be enforced as if they were writs issued in connection with a civil action in the High Court.

(5) Any person giving evidence before a Disciplinary Committee shall be legally bound to tell the truth.

(6) Persons giving evidence in a formal inquiry shall have the same privileges and immunities in relation to an inquiry as if it was a proceeding in a court of law.

(7) The Board may appoint an advocate and solicitor for the purpose of a formal inquiry (whether to prosecute the complaint or to act as a legal advisor to the Disciplinary Committee) and pay to the advocate and solicitor, as part of the expenses of the Board, such remuneration as the Board may determine.

(8) A Disciplinary Committee shall complete its inquiry not later than 6 months from the date of its appointment, unless the Board, on application of the Disciplinary Committee, allows otherwise.

(9) In sections 172 to 175, 177,179,182 and 228 of the Penal Code (Cap.224), "public servant" shall be deemed to include a member of a Disciplinary Committee holding a formal inquiry, and in sections 193 and 228 of the Penal Code, "judicial proceeding" shall be deemed to include such a formal inquiry.

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Section 31G -
Findings of Disciplinary Committee

31G.- (1) Where, upon due inquiry into a complaint or matter, a Disciplinary Committee is satisfied that the registered architect concerned -

(a) has been convicted of any offence involving fraud, dishonesty or moral turpitude, or such defect in character which makes him unfit for his profession;

(b) has been guilty of such improper act or conduct which, in the opinion of the Disciplinary Committee, brings disrepute to his profession;

(c) has contravened any provision of the prescribed code of professional conduct and ethics;

(d) is no longer in a position to carry out the duties of a registered architect effectively in Singapore; or

(e) while being a director, a manager or an employee of a licensed corporation, or a partner, a manager or an employee of a licensed partnership or limited liability partnership, had failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the corporation, partnership or limited liability partnership from acting in a manager (other than as described in section 26A(1)(e) which would warrant the Board revoking any licence granted to the corporation, partnership or limited liability partnership or imposing a penalty under section 26A(2), the Disciplinary Committee may exercise one or more of the powers referred to in subsection (2).

(2) the powers that the Disciplinary Committee may exercise for the purposes of subsection (1) are as follows:

(a) by order direct the Registrar to remove the name of the registered architect from the register of architects;

(b) by order suspend the registered architect from practice for a period of not more than 2 years;

(c) by order impose on the registered architect a penalty not exceeding $10,000;

(d) by writing censure the registered architect; or

(e) make such other order as the Disciplinary Committee thinks fit.

(3) In addition to its powers under subsection (2), the Disciplinary Committee may order the registered architect concerned to pay to the Board such sum, not exceeding $10,000, as the Disciplinary Committee thinks fit in respect of the costs and expenses of and incidental to any proceedings against him under this Part.

(4) Where the Disciplinary Committee finds that the registered architect has not been convicted or guilty of any of the matters referred to in subsection (1)(a) to (e), the Disciplinary Committee shall order that the complaint or information be dismissed.

(5) The costs and expenses referred to in subsection (3) shall include -

(a) the costs and expenses of any advocate and solicitor appointed by the Board for proceedings before the Disciplinary Committee;

(b) such reasonable expenses as the Board may pay to witnesses; and

(c) such reasonable expenses as are necessary for the conduct of proceedings before the Disciplinary Committee, and the High Court shall have jurisdiction to tax such costs and any such order for costs shall be enforceable as if it were made in connection with a civil action in the High Court.

(6) The Registrar shall serve on the registered architect concerned a notice of the order made by the Disciplinary Committee.

(7) Subject to subsection (8), an order referred to in subsection (2) shall not take effect until the expiration of 30 days after the order is made.

(8) On making an order referred to in subsection (2)(a) or (b), the Disciplinary Committee, if satisfied that to remove the name of the registered architect concerned from the register of architects or to suspend him from practice, as the case may be, is necessary for the protection of members of the public or would be in the best interest of the registered architect, may order that the Registrar immediately remove his name from the register or suspend him from practice, as the case may be.

(9) An order under subsection (8) shall take effect from the time the order is made.

(10) While any order of suspension from practice made under subsection (2)(b) remains in force, the person to whom the order applies shall not for the purposes of this Act be regarded as having in force a practising certificate but immediately on the expiry or annulment of such order, his privileges under this Act shall be revived as from the date of expiry or annulment.

(11) For the purposes of subsection (1)(e), a registered architect shall not be deemed to have taken reasonable steps to prevent the doing of any act by a licensed corporation, partnership or limited liability partnership unless he satisfies the Disciplinary Committee that -

(a) the act was done without his knowledge;

(b) he was not in a position to influence the conduct of the corporation, partnership or limited liability partnership in relation to its action; or

(c) he, being in such a position, exercised all due diligence to prevent the corporation, partnership or limited liability partnership from so acting.

(12) In this section, references to acts done by a licensed corporation, partnership or limited liability partnership include references to omissions to act and to a series of acts or omissions to act.

(13) Every penalty imposed under an order by a Disciplinary Committee under subsection (2) shall be recoverable as a debt due to the Board.

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Section 31H -
Appeal against order by Disciplinary Committee

31H.- (1) Any person aggrieved by a decision of the Disciplinary Committee referred to in section 31G(2), (3) or (4) may, within 30 days after the service on him of the notice of the order, appeal to the High Court against the order.

(2) There shall be no appeal from the decision of the High Court.

(3) In any appeal to the High Court against a decision referred to in section 31G(2), (3) or (4), the High Court shall accept as final and conclusive any finding of the Disciplinary Committee relating to any issue of ethics or standards of professional conduct unless such finding is in the opinion of the High Court unsafe, unreasonable or contrary to the evidence.

(4) Notwithstanding anything in section 31G, where a person has appealed to the High Court against an order referred to in section 31G(2) or (3), the order shall not take effect unless the order is confirmed by the High Court or the appeal is for any reason dismissed by the High Court or withdrawn.

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Section 31I -
Conviction final and conclusive

31I.- In any proceedings under this Part in relation to the conviction of a registered architect for a criminal offence, the Minister, the Board, an Investigation Committee, a Disciplinary Committee, and the High Court on appeal from any order of a Disciplinary Committee, shall accept his conviction as final and conclusive.

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Section 31J -
Service of documents

31J.- Any notice, order or document required or authorised to be served under this Part shall be deemed to be sufficiently served -

(a) by delivering a copy thereof personally or by leaving it with some adult person at the last known place of residence or business of the person on whom it is to be served; or

(b) by sending it by registered post addressed to the person on whom the notice is to be served at his address as stated in the appropriate register.

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