Court nullifies Kamra tal-Periti’s suspension of architects’ warrants

The Court of Appeal on Wednesday struck down a September 2022 Kamra Tal-Periti [Chamber of Architects] decision to suspend the warrant of six architects, in the final ruling of a lawsuit they filed against Kamra President Andre Pizzuto.

The Kamra had suspended the architects’ warrants for three months for failing to adhere to an August 2022 directive asking architects not to submit bids on a government tender asking for technical valuation reports which the KTP said were priced undignifiedly low.

The Court declared that the warrant suspensions for architects Conrad Thake, David Sultana, Carmel Cacopardo, Edward Scerri, Anthony Galea and Marvienne Camilleri as null and void.

The directive’s intention, accompanied by threats of disciplinary action, was to boycott the tender en masse so the government would be forced to pay more to those interested in such work.

The tender, issued in 2022 was by the Commissioner of Inland Revenue (CIR) for technical reports on valuations on the transfer of property for tax purposes and established a €25 payment fee for each report, inviting warranted architects to submit their offers.

Ignoring Pizzuto’s directive, some architects still submitted their tender, with the Chamber retaliating by suspending their warrant for three months for not abiding by its directive. Some of the architects then decided to contest that decision at the Court of Appeals.

In a September 2022 deliberation of the suspension with the KTP council, the architects had argued that such services had been rendered to the Commissioner of Inland Revenue at that rate for 25 years.

When submitted their arguments for this deliberation, the Court found that the architects were not given proper notice by the KTP Council, stating that “it is clear that in the day the appellant sent his reply to the Kamra tal-Periti, he did not know that disciplinary proceedings had been initiated against him with the consequence of his warrant being suspended.”

The architects argued that the KTP’s directive was in itself illegal, went against free market policies, and its breach did not constitute a lack of dignity on the architects’ part. They also argued that the suspension of their warrant was not a proportionate disciplinary measure.

The Court also found the KTP’s Council acted illegally by not providing every opportunity for the architects to defend themselves against the accusations of breach being levelled at them and did not adhere to the principles of natural justice in their deliberations.

The Court of Appeal was presided over by Justice Mark Chetcuti, Judge Joseph Micallef and Judge Tonio Mallia. In all cases, they ordered expenses to be paid by Pizzuto representing the Kamra.

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Mark Sant (Misha)
Mark Sant (Misha)
2 months ago

It is outrageous that KTP has the power of a regulator to suspend an architect’s warrant but also acts as a professional union, dishing out directives to its members. How is that equitable?

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