A short history
Founded by Joseph Broomhead in 1895, Broomhead & Saul is a well-established and highly regarded county law practice with strong links throughout the South West of England.
Broomhead & Saul is a rare mix of both the traditional and the modern.
In 2019 the firm was acquired by the award winning commercial law firm, Solicitors Title LLP, which is based in Exeter and Yeovil.
A modern outlook
The firm values and ethics remain, as before: our client’s best interests are central to everything we do. See our values.
The principal change introduced under the new management is an ongoing process of modernisation. The challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic have accelerated this process.
Our aim is to increase the public’s access to affordable and efficient legal services, wherever our clients live. We dare to think differently and to defy common assumptions and preconceptions, when necessary. We also take pride in acting decisively to implement our independent analysis.
Our innovative use of technology and the quality of our service has lead to our developing an international English law service for English expats living abroad.
A proven record of dynamic innovation
In 2020, when confronted by the obstacles presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, we developed new ways of helping our clients access legal services.
The nation’s first video witnessed Will
In late April 2020 we were approached by a self-isolating client in Surrey who needed to make a Will without breaching the lock-down regime. We undertook our own ground-breaking legal research to facilitate this. Our findings contradicted the uniformly held view within our profession that asserted that section 9 of the Wills Act 1837 insists on a will being signed in the physical presence of a witness, for it to have any legal effect. Our research revealed that both the Law Society’s practice guidance and the Law Commission’s research were based on fallacious assumptions that we exposed as such.
Our published research established that the act of witnessing a client’s Will using video technology is entirely consistent with over three hundred years of case law. When the Law Society refused to engage in a dialogue, we decided to act on our convictions, regardless.
On 1 May 2020, acting in defiance of the Law Society’s strictures we set a bold new legal precedent, nationally, by witnessing the execution of our client’s Will in Surrey remotely, using live streaming video technology.
A successful law reform campaign
Later, we ran a controversial but highly successful pro bono lightening campaign. This persuaded the government to agree to pass emergency legislation sanctioning the video witnessing of Wills, within a matter of weeks of our appeal to the Secretary of State for Justice. The government’s legislation goes to the extraordinary length of sanctioning the practice of video witnessing off Wills with retrospective effect: backdated to 31 January 2020.
We also shared our ground breaking legal research and published numerous articles to promote this new and beneficial practice within the legal profession.
English nationals abroad
On 29 July 2020 we also set a new international legal precedent by administering the first cross border video witnessed Will for an elderly English widow who had retired to live in Crete but who wished to make an English Will governing her English estate .
We are now exploiting video conferencing technology to help other expats living in the European Union, the United States of America and elsewhere to settle their English estates without having to go to the trouble, risk or expense of visiting the UK.
The nation’s first Park Up Law Service
In January 2021, we were inundated by private individuals and local businesses who were unable to find any law firm or commissioner for oaths prepared to swear affidavits and / or to officiate in the making of statutory declarations, during this pandemic. We appeared to be the only law firm in Taunton who was prepared to discharge this simple but nevertheless vital service.
In February 2021 we obtained a special dispensation from our local planning authority to run the nation’s first Park UP law Service. This completely Covid-19-safe swearing, declarations and certification service has proved to be very popular and is helping to keep the wheels of the local business community turning.
Foreign Domicile – no longer a barrier to accessing affordable legal services
Whilst we are delighted to meet our clients in person, we are equally happy to conduct face to face meetings remotely using video conferencing technology, if our clients find this more convenient.
An increasing number of our clients live abroad in the English speaking world. Even where travel is permitted, it is expensive, time-consuming and public transport poses its own risks. Most of our clients find video conferencing just as intuitive and personal as a conventional meeting in person; it is also often much safer, less expensive as well as discrete and confidential.
We are never more than an email, phone call or Zoom meeting away from any of our clients, wherever they live.
Broomhead & Saul have two trained mediators. We are able to mediate the settlement of disputes in a timely and cost effective manner, in person or remotely, using video conferencing technology or conventional mediation meetings.
Broomhead & Saul benefit from a strategic partnership with the award winning commercial law firm Solicitors Title LLP which is based in Exeter, Devon.
At Broomhead & Saul we dare to differ and to excel in what we do.