John Priestley to appear before magistrates on misuse of title charge

The expert witness sacked by the Grenfell Inquiry for falsely calling himself an architect will appear in court next week charged with misusing the title.

John Priestley is being prosecuted by the Architects Registration Board for offences under the Architects Act 1997.

Priestley, of John Priestley Associates, will appear at Westminster Magistrates Court on November 30 to face the allegations.

Each offence under section 21 of the act is punishable by a fine of up to £2,500. 

He was appointed by the Grenfell Inquiry in June as its architectural expert witness, describing himself on his website as a “UK registered and Chartered Architect”.

He was sacked two days later when it emerged that he had not been on the Arb register since 2010.

A statement from the Arb said: “Mr John Priestley has been served a summons to appear before Westminster Magistrates’ Court at 10am on 30 November 2018 for offences under sections 20 & 21 of the Architects Act 1997 (use of the word ‘architect’ in connection with business or practice).”

Money raised from misuse of title fines is paid to the HM Treasury, not Arb.

Last week the Grenfell Inquiry named former RIBA president Paul Hyett as Priestley’s replacement as architectural expert witness.

His task is to produce a report “considering aspects of the architectural design in relation to the refurbishment” of the tower, which was conducted between 2014 and 2016, and which saw new windows installed and cladding added to the previously un-clad structure.

His work will include “choice of materials; the development of the design; compliance with legislation and regulations; and the quality of the workmanship”.

Last year’s fire at the 24-storey tower in north Kensington claimed the lives of 72 people.