Coronavirus – Working Together

As the Prime Minister has said, we have not known a situation like this in peacetime.  Our objectives, like with many other businesses, are to ensure the safely and wellbeing of our staff, to support our clients and to ensure, as much as we can, that any disruption to the availability of our services is minimised.  We have therefore considered whether we can deliver services is a more novel way, if the need arises or in particular cases and we are keeping this under review.

Our offices are open and we will aim to ensure minimal disruption to our service levels, but please bear in mind that all businesses are having to manage this fast-moving situation, keeping developments and how they respond to those developments under constant review.  However, for our clients, referrers and contacts, we can confirm the following:

  • We have full remote working capability and a secure IT infrastructure, meaning that we can continue to operate even if our offices needed to close (at present, all of our offices are open as usual)
  • Our compliance team have reviewed critical deadlines and areas of work that cannot be disrupted, if at all possible, to ensure continuity in these respects
  • We have considered any risks to our business and are taking steps to mitigate these
  • We have deployed updated guidance on hand washing and good hygiene and are taking practical steps to avoid unnecessary contact (for example shaking hands) and this is ongoing
  • We have already moved some meetings to alternative methods of communication; for example, phone, video conferencing/Zoom/Skype

This situation may inevitably lead to consideration of advice that businesses and others need, or to look at putting various things in place for your family and therefore, as always, please do get in touch with your usual contact at Broomhead & Saul, to see what we can do to help.

The Partners and staff at Broomhead & Saul

Supporting Ilminster Business – World Cancer Day

To mark World Cancer Day 2020, Ilminster law firm Broomhead & Saul is delighted to support fellow Ilminster business Harper, Dolman & West Insurance, located opposite our own offices in the Somerset town, by donating £1 for every year that we have been trading, towards Paul Mullins’ half-marathon challenge.

Paul, who is a key member of HDW’s insurance team decided to take on the challenge to support the fundraising effort being undertaken across Somerset for a new cancer screening and support unit. Via the Yeovil Hospital Charity, the aim is to raise the £2 million required to build a dedicated Breast Cancer Unit at Yeovil District Hospital.

Many of both firms’ clients and contacts will have links to Yeovil and may well use or one day require the services of the hospital and therefore we are delighted to pledge £125 towards Paul’s challenge.

Broomhead & Saul, established since 1895, is a legacy partner with Cancer Research UK, actively participating in the annual free wills scheme – the firm has only just, in fact, been recognised for the value of legacies raised.

Harper, Dolman & West has been proving insurance services across Somerset for over 40 years, from their office based in the Somerset town.


How do you know your Will is simple?

What you want to achieve may be simple and clear in your own mind, but making a valid Will which results in the outcome you intend may not be so simple.

There are many traps for the unwary and you run the risk of falling into them if you do not know they are there.

A Will is one of the most important documents you will ever make and a “simple Will” may have unintended consequences given to your individual family and financial circumstances to say nothing of changes in the law which affect future inheritance rights and taxation. Your family could be faced with problems and challenges which are both stressful and expensive to resolve at what is a very difficult time to the detriment of their intended inheritance.

As long-established solicitors, we take pride in working with you to consider how best to achieve your aims given your individual circumstances and will advise you of possible pitfalls and how to avoid them. Employing an expert now will give you valuable peace of mind for the future.


How do you know?

You cannot assume that the rules about who inherits what if there is no Will and who can be authorised to deal with your assets will match your wishes.

The administration of your estate could in any event prove to be more time consuming, complex and expensive where there is no Will. Executors appointed under a valid Will can have authority to act immediately to deal with urgent matters relating to your estate before authority is granted to them by the Court. Without a Will there is no-one who has that authority until such an appointment is made. Again this could cause difficulties for your loved ones which could so easily be avoided by making a valid Will.

How much will it cost?

What price peace of mind……?

Our fees relate to your individual needs and wishes and whether your Will really is simple – our charges start at £160.00 plus VAT for a single Will and £245.00 plus VAT for 2 similar Wills which mirror each other but why not contact us to find out more? We will be pleased to discuss it with you without obligation and provide details of the likely fees involved before we proceed.

Additional Benefits

Our fees include free storage of your Will in our Strong Room and registration free of charge (normally costing £30) as to the location of your Will on the Certainty National Database, as recommended by our professional body, The Law Society. Please be assured that the contents of your Will are not registered on the database and information about it can only be given by us to your loved ones after your death. Registration assists in ensuring your most up to date Will is located promptly and not overlooked and in preventing the mistake of an older Will or copy being found and relied upon. A check of the register saves costs and delay which might otherwise arise.

The Broomhead & Saul Team Successfully Complete The Moonraker Challenge 2014


The Broomhead & Saul Team of Paul Sykes, Julia Clegg, Michael Brierley (works for Hanne & Co) and Paul Brierley successfully completed the Moonraker Challenge 2014.

The firm raised over £200 for the cause which contributed to a grand total of £10,000!

Congratulations to everyone who took part and made the event so successful for such a wonderful cause.

The Broomhead & Saul team are already looking forward to next years challenge!

Supporting the Local Community

On Friday 21st March 2014 Broomhead & Saul Solicitors were proud supporters of the ‘Auction of Goods and Promises’ in the Othery Village Hall for the Somerset Community Foundation Flood Appeal Fund and donated a luxury hamper to the cause.

The auction was a tremendous success raising an impressive £10,853.53 for the appeal fund.

As of early March over £800,000 has been donated to the Fund by individuals, local businesses, charitable trusts and community groups that organised fundraising events. In that time over £220,000 has been distributed to more than 300 households affected by the floods. With pledges of future donations to the Fund, The Somerset Community Foundation are confident that £1m will have been raised very soon.

If readers of this article would like to make a donation to this cause please follow the link below

Broomhead & Saul has always prioritised supporting the efforts of their local community and will continue to do so proudly in the future.

Clinical Negligence: Information on making a claim guide


Broomhead & Saul accepts instructions for all clinical negligence cases including dental negligence, cases involving minors, and fatal accident claims. We understand how a person can already feel that they have been mistreated at the point where they consider pursuing a claim, and we combine providing expert advice with the prioritisation of customer care. We also focus on supporting the needs of our local community and residents offering a first class service with a personal touch. Broomhead & Saul do not accept any Personal Injury or Clinical Negligence clients without meeting the client in person first.

Below is some key information to help guide you through the stages of a clinical negligence claim:

Time limits for bringing your claim

Generally, you must start formal legal proceedings for clinical negligence within three years of the date of the injury or of when you had knowledge that the mistake occurred. In exceptional circumstances, it may be possible to issue your claim at court outside the three year limit and we will advise if this exception applies to you.

If you are pursuing a claim on behalf of a child, legal proceedings must be started before their 21st birthday.

Special rules also apply to people who do not have the capacity to conduct their own affairs but the

general rule is that, while they do not have that capacity, there is no time limit for bringing a claim.

Funding your claim

There are several ways in which a claim can be paid for. We will discuss your options in more

detail at your initial meeting but the main forms of funding are:

  • Legal expenses insurance

You may have legal expenses cover as part of your home, car or other insurance that will pay for all, or part, of the legal costs. We will need details of all the relevant insurance policies you held at the time of your injury, as well as any current policies, to enable us to check whether the policy provides cover to investigate a clinical negligence claim.

  • Trade union funding

If you are a member of a trade union, you may be eligible for trade union funding. We will need details of your membership so we can find out whether funding will be available for your claim.

  • Private funding

If you fund the claim yourself, we will ask you for some money on account at the beginning of the claim and invoice you periodically. You will be charged for the time we spend working on your claim, based on an hourly rate that will be fixed at the beginning of your claim and reviewed regularly. You will also incur a number of expenses, known as disbursements, such as experts’ and barristers’ fees.

  • Funding through a Conditional Fee Agreement

We may be able to take on your claim under a funding agreement known as a Conditional Fee

Agreement. This can also be called a “No Win No Fee” agreement. Before offering such an agreement, we need to understand the facts behind your claim and its strength and you may be asked

Who will handle your claim?

Your claim will be handled by a small team of specialist, local lawyers. All team members will be familiar with your file, and you can feel secure in the knowledge that when you call the person answering will know who you are, and the circumstances of your incident.

 Investigating your claim

Before going to Court, we need to establish the strength of your claim and whether it is likely to

succeed. The early tasks, which will take a number of months (sometimes a year or more), we will focus on gathering evidence and obtaining the professional opinions of independent experts and, where appropriate, a barrister.

Gathering evidence

To assist with establishing your claim, we will:

  • Prepare witness statements based on your recollection of events;
  • Gather the relevant medical records from your GP, and any hospitals and private doctors that you attended; and
  • Obtain opinion(s) on your claim from independent medical expert(s) to assess whether the treatment or care received fell below an acceptable standard.

Proving your claim

Three factors must be proved before a claim can be established:

  • A “breach of duty” by the healthcare provider(s) caring for you. This is when the treatment or care you received fell below an acceptable standard;
  • An injury or a worse than expected outcome; and
  • The injury or outcome was caused by the breach of duty (this is called “causation”).

A “breach of duty” may include:

  • Failure or delay in diagnosis;
  • Failure or delay in instituting appropriate investigation/care;
  • Failure to take proper account of investigations/ test results;
  • Failure to take account of a previous medical history;
  • Failure to take appropriate care when operating;
  • Premature discharge from hospital; and/or failure to obtain a patient’s consent.

Deciding to go ahead /Pre-action protocol

At the end of the investigative period and before commencing formal Court proceedings, a

number of things, collectively known as the “preaction protocol”, need to happen. First, a Letter of Claim is sent to the Defendant (the doctor or NHS Trust against whom the claim is being made) setting out details of the allegations of negligence and the harm the negligence caused.

Within four months, the Defendant must provide a Letter of Response setting out details of its reply

to the allegations. The Letter of Response may give a full or partial admission of liability, or it may

simply set out the Defendant’s response to the claim without making any admission. A final decision about whether to continue the claim is then made in light of the Letter of Response.

 Valuing your claim (“quantum”)

The purpose of compensation is to return you, as far as possible, to the position you would have been in but for the negligence. If your claim is successful, you will receive compensation for:

General damages – an amount of money to cover pain, suffering and “loss of amenity” caused by an injury. General damages apply to both physical and psychological injuries or injuries that are a combination of the two.

Past losses, sometimes called “special damages” e.g. earnings, travel and medical expenses, additional travel costs; and

Future losses e.g. care that you will need in the future, changes to your accommodation, aids and


Settlement out of Court

Most claims settle before they reach trial. The Court encourages parties to do this by way of

written settlement offers, mediation and round table meetings. We will guide you as to whether we think an offer made by a Defendant is reasonable. A settlement offer must be considered carefully because, if you refuse it and then recover the same amount or less at trial, a Judge can order costs penalties against you. It may be appropriate for you to make an offer to the Defendant to settle your claim and we will advise you what a reasonable settlement would be.

 If the claim is headed towards trial

Generally the trial is scheduled to take place within 12-18 months of a Claim Form being issued at

Court. A lot of detailed preparation work is done during this period, including reviewing the defence,

gathering and listing relevant documents, finalising and serving witness and expert evidence, arranging meetings of experts, and calculating the full value of your claim.


Where parties cannot reach agreement, the claim will be decided by a Judge at trial. The trial Judge then decides who should win, on what grounds. If the Claimant is successful, the Judge will decide how much compensation should be paid.

We hope you have found the information helpful, and if you would like to discuss a potential clinical negligence claim please telephone:

Andrea Pollard on 01823 447 438

Danielle Silsby on 01823 447 416

Joanne Margetts on 01823 447 416