Frederick Donaldson v Engineering Forensics Ltd

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
Judgment Date11 May 2023
Neutral Citation[2023] EWHC 3348 (KB)
CourtKing's Bench Division
Docket NumberCase No: KB-2022-CDF-000067
Frederick Donaldson
Engineering Forensics Ltd
Victoria Lock
DAC Beechcroft LLP
NFU Mutual
Darren Jones

[2023] EWHC 3348 (KB)


HIS HONOUR JUDGE Jarman KC sitting as a judge of the High Court

Case No: KB-2022-CDF-000067




2 Park Street


CF10 1ET

Mr J Doherty (instructed by Beale and Company Solicitors LLP) appeared on behalf of the First Defendant.

Mr S Allen (instructed by DAC Beachcroft) appeared on behalf of the Third Defendant.

Mr M Harris (instructed by DWF Law LLP) appeared on behalf of the Forth Defendant

Claimant in Person


JUDGE I have before me three applications by three of the defendants to strike or dismiss the proceedings against them on the basis that the claim shows no cause of action against each of them respectively, that it is abuse of process and a collateral attack on earlier, concluded court proceedings in the Newport County Court and that no duty was owed to the claimant and that there is no proper basis for alleged fraud.


Each of the applications is put on broadly the same bases, although there are some differences.. For example, in relation to the NFU, as I shall call them, the claim form alleges a public duty. I think it is worth my citing the claim form in full. The claim form gives brief details of claim, that:

“In June 2022 Victoria Locke [the second defendant] with the active assistance of Engineering Forensics Limited [the first defendant], DAC Beachcroft Limited [the third defendant], financed by NFU Insurance Company, utilised fake boiler certificates in order to obtain a favourable judgment against me in case F44YX401. Only Darren Jones [fifth defendant] has been held accountable for this, Darren Jones being the boiler engineer who has produced the fake documents. He was found liable for this in 2021 in case H9QZ5940. He has paid his liability. He is named in this case as he has declined to make any statement surrounding his involvement.”


Pausing there, the case in relation to Engineering Forensic Limited (“EFL”) referred to in the claim form was a claim brought by that company for fees incurred as a single joint expert in other proceedings against Mrs Locke and Dr Donaldson. The case against Darren Jones was also a claim brought by Dr Donaldson. There was judgment in default of defence entered in that claim. Darren Jones applied to set that aside, but that was dismissed, and the damages in that case, some £4,800-odd, was paid eventually after Mr Jones had said he had no means to do so and was then paid quite quickly. That is a matter which figures in Dr Donaldson's submissions before me.


The value of the claim is said to be this:

“Stress of this matter caused me to give up work at £84,000 per annum. This had my pension of £15,000 per annum. I have been forced to live in a half-finished house since 2018. I have suffered considerable, protracted distress and hurt because of this.”


The Particulars of Claim (and, again, it is instructive, I think, to set these rather short particulars out in full) say this:

“I took necessary urgent steps to stop gases from Victoria Locke's boiler getting into my house in April 2017. In June 2017 Victoria Locke and her husband claimed that I damaged their boiler. NF Mutual, acting on behalf of Victoria Locke, wrote to me pressing that claim. I responded, asking for evidence that the boiler in question was working safely. Over some objections, Engineering Forensics Ltd acknowledged in their report to the court the absence of those certificates. They later changed their report to suit Victoria Locke. In 2020 DAC Beachcroft presented to me obviously fake boiler certificates. I questioned the provenance of these certificates in court. The judge accepted them despite my objections, supported by the assertions of Engineering Forensics (case F44YX401). Darren Jones, the producer of these certificates, has been found liable for producing these fake documents (case H9QZ5940). My attempts to get the above judgment reviewed were rejected by the court, citing judicial privilege. My attempts to get any other authority to act have been rejected because of that lower court decision.

I am claiming damages for the fraud by Victoria Locke, Engineering Forensics, DAC Beachcroft and NFU Mutual. They are responsible for the presentation and use of these certificates produced by Darren Jones. They, by doing so, concealed the use of a defective boiler which endangered my health. Their action caused a cascade of negative events that have caused permanent and irrevocable damage to my life. I believe that I am entitled to damages for harassment, as the actions taken were done using fraud, and all parties chose to press me via letter and court papers and email. Victoria Locke was legally required to have and present evidence that her boiler was working properly, as she was insured as a commercial landlord. DAC Beachcroft, when asked to provide the certificates by me, had an opportunity to confirm that the bases of their actions were correct. They had a responsibility to the public. Engineering Forensics deliberately altered their evidence to the court to assist Victoria Locke and breached their responsibility to me. NFU Mutual failed to do their due diligence and neglected their responsibility to the public by not ensuring that their client had the appropriate documents and allowed her to continue to expose tenants to a defective boiler.”


The main earlier proceedings between Mrs Locke and Dr Donaldson were commenced in the Newport County Court. The applications made by three of the defendants rely heavily upon those earlier proceedings. No application has been made by either of the other defendants, Mrs Locke or Mr Jones, and they have not attended or presented submissions to me today, although Mrs Locke's solicitor is here to observe. The claimant obtained judgment, as I have said, in default against Mr Jones, and an application which was made to set aside was dismissed.


The earlier proceedings against Mrs Locke and Dr Donaldson was that he had carried out work to his chimney in 2018 at his home at 114 Bassaleg Road, Newport, which had caused damage to the boiler of her property next door at 116 Bassaleg Road. Mrs Locke's insurers were NFU. They paid for a replacement boiler and repairs. They instructed DAC to claim those costs against Dr Donaldson in a claim issued in April 2019. His defence was that he had not damaged Mrs Locke's boiler. He accepted that he had carried out work to his side of the joint chimney stack to their semi-detached properties by taking down, amongst other things, the side of his stack. He counterclaimed for £4,900. The court directed the parties to instruct a single joint expert, which was Mr Wildish of EVL. His report concluded that Dr Donaldson's work to the chimney was the probable cause of damage to Mrs Locke's boiler. Dr Donaldson asked two sets of questions of Mr Wildish in those proceedings, who maintained his opinion.


The trial first came on for hearing in February 2020. That was adjourned when Mrs Locke mentioned in oral evidence that she had gas safety certificates which showed that her boiler was working properly before the works carried out by Dr Donaldson. She was directed to disclose those documents and other documents relating to the boiler inspections. The certificates which she produced were purportedly signed by a gas safety engineer, Mr...

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