Retirement for Paul Aynsley

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McCarthy Bennett Holland Solicitors (MBH) would like to announce the retirement of their senior Partner, Paul Aynsley as from 1st May 2020.  We are sad to see him go but wish him all the best in his retirement.  Paul was a key member of MBH for over 27 years and has an excellent reputation and standing in the community.

As most of Paul’s clients will be aware, Darren Earnshaw joined us in February 2020 and has worked side by side with Paul over the last few months.

Paul Aynsley said “After nearly 27 years with the firm it is a big change for me to be leaving but I know am leaving the department in Darren’s very safe and vastly experienced hands. The department will continue to go from strength to strength and has a very exciting future ahead. Darren is hugely talented, dedicated and knowledgeable in whom I have the utmost confidence and trust to deliver the best possible advice on litigation and private client matters.”

Caroline Rooks, Senior Partner, paid tribute to Paul:

“Paul has been an outstanding partner for the clients of MBH Solicitors and has delivered exceptional service to the firm. Paul has had a huge influence on everyone here at MBH Solicitors and thanks to his guidance, friendship and expertise we are able to build on all he has achieved over a long and highly successful career. On behalf of the whole firm, I thank him for all that he has given to us and our clients over the years”.

About MBH Solicitors

MBH Solicitors has been in business since 1971 and has a widespread and diverse client base. The firm is forward thinking and offers electronic or traditional ways of conducting your case.  A modern approach is taken to ensure that you are provided with an efficient service.

MBH offer the following services:

  • Commercial Advice & Litigation
  • Commercial Property
  • Company Share Sale & Acquisition
  • Landlord & Tenant
  • Commercial Leases
  • Business Acquisition & Sale
  • Shareholder Agreements
  • Wills & Probate (Estate Management)
  • General Litigation & Dispute Resolution
  • Personal Injury & Clinical Negligence
  • Residential Conveyancing
  • Family, Children & Divorce Law
  • Employment Law

MBH’s prices are competitive and fixed fees can be offered where appropriate.

Contact MBH Solicitors on 01942 206060 or by e-mail to  For further information please visit our website

Update on Covid-19 and Compliance with Child Arrangement Orders

It is understandable that parents have been extremely concerned about adhering to Court Orders during these unprecedented times, and of course, when they will next be able to see their children.

The Government Guidelines are rapidly changing, and new rules are put in place to ensure the safety of each person, and to attempt to relieve the strain from the NHS.

Each family’s circumstances will differ. The Guidance below is general and has been released as a guideline for separated families to consider when making the necessary decisions about contact arrangements.


  1. Parental Responsibility lies with the Mother, and the Father (who is named on the birth certificate, or married to the Mother, or has a Parental Responsibility Order in their favour) of the child. It does not lie with the Courts. It is down to the parents to make the decisions in the best interests of the child. If you believe your child, yourself, or someone in your household is at risk, then you should isolate in line with the Government’s Guidelines.
  2. You must continue to act in line with the Governments ‘Stay at Home Rules’, put in place on 23 March 2020. Under these rules, it is no longer permitted for a “a person, and this includes a child, to be outside their home for any purpose other than essential shopping, daily exercise, medical need or attending essential work”.
  3. Contained in the Stay at Home Rules, is guidance relating to child contact arrangements stating that “where parents do not live in the same household, children under 18 can be moved between their parent’s homes”. The guidelines do provide an exception to the ‘Stay at Home Rules’, however it is important to note that this is not mandatory. The Government have stated that you should make a sensible assessment of all the circumstances, and whether this is in the best interests of the child and immediate family around the child during contact. For example, if someone in the household is at high risk, contact should be suspended at this time.
  4. Separated parents should communicate with one another, and if possible, come to an agreement as to a practical solution. It is understandable that parents who have limited contact with their children will be frustrated, however it must be considered first and foremost, the best way to maintain the child’s safety. Even if one parent believes contact is safe, the other parent may completely disagree and feel genuinely worried about the situation.
  5. If a Child Arrangement Order is in place, and parents wish to suggest alternative contact arrangements or vary the Order, they are free to so do. To avoid disputes, parents should write this agreement down, by way of email, text message or paper.
  6. If one parent wishes to vary the Court Order due to sufficient and reasonable concerns, that parent may exercise their Parental Responsibility to vary such Order to ensure the protection of their child, to one they consider to be safe.
  7. Should this be raised at any Court hearing, the view of the Court would be to consider whether the parent acted reasonably and sensibly in light of the official advice, along with any evidence relating to the child or the family.
  8. As noted in our previous blog, parents who are unable to see their children during this time should be offered alternative contact to maintain the relationship, as well as being offered remote contact, whether through Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp or any other video connection. If this is not possible, the parent should be offered contact via telephone.

The overall note is to ensure you act within the best interests of your child to ensure their safety.


Still have questions? Please do not hesitate to contact the Family Team on 01942 206060.



Covid-19, Separated Families and Court Orders

Covid-19, Separated Families and Court Orders

Everyone will now be aware of the Governments most recent response to tackle Covid-19 and the lockdown of the UK to limit the spread of the virus.

It is likely that separated families will have a number of questions, whether they can still see the children, or whether a Court Order will be enforceable during this time. The Governments position is frequently changing, however written below is the current guidelines.

The Cabinet Minister recently responded to a number of questions and confirmed that children can still continue to see the other parent, wherever this is safe to do so. It should be considered, however, if a parent or another person living in the household is considered to be vulnerable, then contact should be avoided during this time, to ensure their safety.

You should act in the children’s best interest

You should consider how frequent the other parent comes into contact with others who do not form part of their household.

During this period of lockdown, if you have a Court Order in place formalising contact arrangements, you should first consider whether contact taking place will be safe. For example, if your means of travel is via public transport, this should cease to continue during this period. A Court Order should not be enforced during this time. If contact is frequent with the other parent, it may be sensible to restrict this as much as possible.

Despite contact arrangements being formalised, to ensure the safety of the children, and others around you, contact should be suspended with the other parent entirely when this is unsafe to do so. You should not be penalised for this decision. It is understandable that the other parent will wish to see the children during this difficult time, however given the current restrictions, it should cease to continue if you believe the children or others in the household may be at risk. You could also risk a fine.

If the children frequently spend time with others, including grandparents, this should also cease. At all costs, children should be isolated from vulnerable people and of course, to ensure the children remain safe and well.  At this time, the children should have no interaction with any other person other than those residing in the same household and when attending for contact with the other parent.

You will note the Government set restrictions yesterday evening and stated you must only leave your home for the following reasons:

  1. Shopping for necessities, as infrequently as possible.
  2. One form of exercise a day, such as running or cycling, alone or with household members.
  3. For medical or care needs, for example to help a vulnerable person;
  4. Travelling to and from work, but only if you cannot work from home.

Meeting friends, shopping for anything beyond essentials, and gathering in crowds are now banned.

This is an extremely distressing time for everyone, so to ensure relationships are maintained, we would suggest contact is facilitated through social media channels, for example Skype or FaceTime.

The Government’s current position is to review the current measures in three weeks’ time. It is possible these measures may continue into the upcoming months. Wherever possible, it may be beneficial for the other parent to be provided with extended time with the children once these restrictions are lifted. This can be done via a mutual arrangement with the other parent.

We understand parent’s frustration and upset during these unprecedented times, and hope you all remain safe and well. The Government’s stance is changing every single day. Wherever possible, we will update you via our social media channels.Add a subheading (2)

If you further questions, please contact one of the Family Department via email, who will endeavour to respond to you as soon as possible.


The dangers of DIY leases

Gemma. March blog photo

The dangers of DIY leases

It may be tempting for both landlords and tenants of commercial properties to try and save money on legal costs by dealing with the matter between themselves. There are a number of downfalls that a landlord / tenant may fall foul of. Commercial property Solicitor, Gemma Eastham, looks at the pitfalls.

SDLT liability – tenants

Whether SDLT will be payable will generally by determined by whether a premium is being paid for the grant or assignment of the lease, the value of the annual rent per annum and the length of the lease.

Where no SDLT is payable, a tenant may still be required to notify HMRC (submit a return to HMRC).

Failure to submit a return and pay the duty (if any) within 14 days of the effective date of the transaction will lead to a fixed penalty of £100 and interest being charged on any SDLT and if the date of submission is more than 3 months after the filing date, the fixed penalty will increase to £200.

When do you need to register a lease at H.M Land Registry?

Leases granted for a period of more than seven years and certain other types of leases need to be registered at HM Land Registry.

It is worth pointing out that any easements contained in a lease, such as rights to access the demised premises through common areas or the use shared facilities, i.e car parks, will not take effect at law unless they are registered, even where the lease itself does not require registration.  For a tenant, it is therefore important to ensure that any registration requirements are adhered to.

Unwritten tenancies

Unwritten tenancies are dangerous for both parties to a commercial tenancy because there is no clear record of the terms that have been agreed.

A landlord, for example, will have no right to forfeit the tenancy in the event of a breach of the terms of the agreement because an express forfeiture clause is required for this.

With a business tenancy it is important to ascertain whether the agreement is within the security of tenure provisions contained in the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (the right for the tenant to renew the tenancy at the end of the term).  If there is no express clause excluding these provisions in the agreement and the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 has not been ‘contracted out’, the tenancy will be deemed to be within the Act.

This means that the tenant will generally be entitled to request a new lease from the landlord at the end of the contractual term of the existing lease. The landlord would only be able to bring the tenancy to an end by serving notice on the tenant in the prescribed form, which requires the landlord to give the tenant not less than 6 months’ notice.

This may affect any provisions which have been agreed between the landlord and tenant.

For example, a landlord and tenant may have verbally agreed that either party can bring a lease to an end by giving one month’s notice to the other party. Legally, the landlord would not be able to rely on this provision and would need to follow the above statutory procedure (6 months’ notice).

The full extent of this topic could be covered in something far longer than a blog, but these are some key areas that both landlords and tenants should consider before proceeding. Seeking appropriate legal advice at the outset could potentially save a landlord and/or tenant money in the long run. Legal advice is always recommended.

For further information, please contact our Commercial team at MBH Solicitors: Tel: 01942 206060 Address: 26 Bridgeman Terrace, Wigan WN1 1TD.



Children Matters and the Courts – What Orders Can I Apply For?

An application is often made to the Courts when there are disputes between parties in respect of children matters. It is often the case that other forms of dispute resolution, including solicitor’s negotiations and Mediation, is unsuitable or unsuccessful, given the height of emotions when dealing with sensitive matters. Mediation however, is a requirement before applying to the Courts.

Contained within Section 8 of the Children Act 1989, there are 3 orders which can be applied in the Family Courts. These are:

  • Child Arrangement Order
  • Prohibited Steps Order
  • Specific Issue Order

The mother of the child/ren can apply for any of these orders, and the father of the child/ren may do the same, providing he is named on the birth certificate. Should this not be the case, or the applicant is another family member, they should firstly apply for leave (permission) of the court to make the application.


Child Arrangement Order

A Child Arrangement Order is an order which formalises contact arrangements between the parties. Such order will state exactly what time the child/ren should spend with each party, as well as any indirect contact. There are orders which will provide which party member the child/ren is to live with. An order provided by the Courts is an enforceable order, meaning if this is breached, the matter can be returned to Court for Enforcement proceedings. This is often required when parents are unable to agree on contact arrangements.


Prohibited Steps Order

A Prohibited Steps Order is an order from the Court which forbids a party from doing something which relates to the child/ren. For example, a Prohibited Steps order can be placed on a party who intends to move with the child/ren, to another part of the country, without prior consent of the Mother/Father. In essence, a Prohibited Steps Order places a restriction on a parent’s parental responsibility of the child/ren.


Specific Issue Order

A Specific Issue Order is an order which can arise following the dispute over a particular issue. This could be, for example, in relation to the child/ren’s schooling, medical treatment, surname, and so on.

In all cases brought to the Family Court, a supervisor from CAFCASS (Children and Family Advisory and Support Services) will be involved, even prior to the initial hearing. The role of CAFCASS is to consider all aspects of the case and provide recommendations to the Court as to what they believe to be a reasonable outcome.

Whilst making any decisions, the Court will have regard to Section 1 of the Children Act 1989, and the Welfare Checklist. The Courts paramount concern is the safety and well-being of the child/ren.


Have you had troubles with your former partner, or family member in relation to children matters? Please contact us for a free 30 minute appointment with Gillian Lavelle, or Megan Brookfield on 01942 206060.


Childrens matters and court orders - blog

Can I refuse a new business lease because I want to move in to the property?

Unless a lease is contracted out, a business tenant has a right to a new lease upon expiry of their contractual term, subject to limited grounds.

Section 30(1)(g) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 contains an ‘own occupation’ ground.
This allows a landlord to refuse the tenant a new lease if they can prove they want to occupy the property themselves.

If a landlord intends to refuse to grant a new lease based on the ‘own occupation’ ground, the landlord must have owned the property for at least 5 years.

What does the landlord have to prove?

You need to demonstrate that you have a settled intention to occupy all or the majority of the property when the tenant leaves.

If you wish to use for residential purposes, you must prove an intention to occupy the whole of the property.

What evidence does the landlord need?

If you plan to occupy and you would need planning permission (e.g change of use from commercial use to residential use) then you should obtain that or provide evidence that planning permission is likely to be granted.

How does the landlord start the process?

You must serve a notice pursuant to section 25 of the 1954 Act, quoting ground G (and /or any other grounds to refuse you can rely upon).

If the tenant has already served a notice (known as a section 26 notice) requesting a new lease, you must serve a counter notice within 2 months.

For further information, please contact our Commercial team at MBH Solicitors: Tel: 01942 206060 Address: 26 Bridgeman Terrace, Wigan WN1 1TD.

Written by our Gemma Eastham, Commercial Property Solicitor

I want to sell my leasehold property but I do not have long left on my lease

A property with a limited number of years left on the lease may be hard to sell because prospective buyers are likely find it difficult to obtain a mortgage.

Mortgage lenders are reluctant to lend money to a prospective buyer unless the lease has a requisite number of years left on the lease.

If you are struggling to sell your property, you may wish to purchase the freehold title or extend the lease.

Can I extend my lease?

Various factors are taken in to account, the main factor being that you must have owned your property for a minimum of two years and you must have been granted a lease of 21 years or more.

You cannot extend your lease if your lease has already expired, if the lease has been extended previously or of your landlord is a charitable trust.

How much will it cost me?

If you are looking to extend the lease of your house, generally you do not have to pay a premium, however, your landlord may ask for their representatives legal costs to be paid on their behalf. Your ground rent may also increase to a modern rent, from the date which your additional 50 years term begins.

What do I need to know?

You are entitled to extend your lease for a period of 50 years, in addition to the unexpired term of your original lease.

If the terms between you and your landlord cannot be agreed, or if your landlord refuses to extend your lease, then you can make an application to the First Tier Tribunal where the terms and price can be decided.

If you and your landlord have agreed to extend your lease for a further 50 years or for a longer period, we are happy to help guide you through the process, from the beginning to the end.

For further information, please contact our Commercial team at MBH Solicitors: Tel: 01942 206060 Address: 26 Bridgeman Terrace, Wigan WN1 1TD.

Written by our Gemma Eastham, Commercial Property Solicitor


As part of your purchase of a property, we would always recommend that searches are carried out. If you are purchasing with the assistance of a mortgage, the majority of searches are required by lenders and we will therefore be required to carry out searches in this circumstance.  However, if you are purchasing the property without the assistance of a mortgage you will be able to decide whether or not you wish for us to obtain searches.  We have therefore listed the searches that we recommend to provide some assistance in your decision. The recommended searches are as follows:

  1. Coal search – if the property is in the local area or in a different coal mining area, this search is recommend as it will reveal if there are any mine shafts or any subsidence claims near the property. This can cause an increased risk of subsidence at the property. If the search reveals a mine shaft or any subsidence claims then the search would need to be reported to your lender to see if they are willing to proceed. You may also wish to carry out additional checks to ensure that you are happy to proceed. If you are purchasing the property without a mortgage, this information will help you make an informed decision as to whether to proceed. It may also affect the future saleability of the property as any purchaser’s obtaining a mortgage would need to report the search to their lender.
  2. Local Authority search – this search shows information held by the Local Authority in respect of the property. The search, most importantly, would reveal if there are any grants in relation to the property. If grants are revealed we can ensure that the seller of the property repays the grant on completion. If you do not obtain the search and a grant is in existence on the property, you would then be responsible for paying the grant and this will have to be paid on the sale of the property regardless of the amount of the grant. We are not able to obtain this information without obtaining the search and therefore not obtaining the search can be a costly error. This search also looks at a wide variety of areas specific to the property such as: road proposals or transport proposals, contamination entries, Planning Permission applications and many more.
  3. Water Search – this search will confirm the location of any recorded main water or sewer pipes. The existence of the pipes can hinder any building in the future if the pipes are in the location you wish to build.       If any elements of the building you are to construct is within 3 metres of a public sewer you must obtain a Build Over Agreement from United Utilities before proceeding with any building. The search will also reveal if the property is connected to mains water supply and sewer supply etc.
  4. Environmental Search – This search looks at various environmental issues that the property may be at risk of. They include: flooding, contamination, subsidence etc. If the search reveals issues this will provide you with further information that you may wish to investigate before you purchase the property.
  5. Planning Report – we would recommend this search if you have any concerns that there may be any nearby developments. This is particularly important if the property you are purchasing is in a rural area as it may not be obvious that there are any developments nearby. We can advise the Local Authority search only reveals any planning permission obtained in respect of the property itself and not any nearby properties.

We can advise that the above are the standard searches that we would recommend for the local area and the majority of properties. However, there may be additional searches which we may recommend during the course of the transaction if it becomes apparent to ourselves that one is required. We can advise that these may be searches such as a tin search if the property is located in Cornwall or a Cheshire brine search if the property is located within Chester.

We may also recommend a chancel search if it becomes apparent to us that one is required as they are not required for every property. We can advise that a chancel search will reveal if the property is at risk of any chancel repair liability.   We would assess your matter as to whether a chancel search is required and inform you if we believe this should be obtained.

For further information or advice, please contact our Conveyancing Team at MBH by telephone on 01942 206060 or by email to Tel: 01942 206060 Address: 26 Bridgeman Terrace, Wigan WN1 1TD.

Written by Sammy-Jo Woodward, Residential Conveyancing Solicitor



My Work Experience at McCarthy Bennett Holland Solicitors

My name is Nathan, and I currently study law at Winstanley College in Orrell. I was given the opportunity to attend a work placement, courtesy of MBH Solicitors, to further my knowledge regarding my dream job as a solicitor, on the 20th to the 24th of January. This was ultimately to help obtain a first-hand experience of the job and to also better myself in the industry by observing consultations between qualified solicitors and their clients. In addition, I was also shown how to fax, scan and photocopy documents such as driver’s licences and other files, all under written and signed agreement of complete and utter client confidentiality.

To recollect upon my many consultations within conveyancing, alongside Ms Caroline Rooks, I can personally say I have benefited greatly from these instances, both observing the process of a consultation, in addition to the interaction and bond between client and solicitor. These consultations illustrated the inside work of solicitors, that non-members of the profession rarely get to see. Therefore I count myself extremely lucky for this opportunity to observe and participate in these ‘inner workings’ further expanding and enhancing my dreams to become a solicitor.

I personally prefer to receive an education, in such ways as work experience, as I strongly believe that it is ultimately more beneficial than receiving lectures from teachers or producing notes on the matter. As the knowledge is firstly provided by an individual practicing the profession, who is guaranteed to possess extensive first-hand knowledge, and therefore can provide a dependable and decisive vision into the duties of a solicitor and provide evidence (in ways such as consultations) of these necessities, whilst also being in a position to highlight alternative routes to enter the profession, other than the traditional university route, by way of sharing their journey to their current status.

I would highly recommend participation in work experience, if given the opportunity, as it has been an unforgettable week. Working alongside such amazing people as Caroline Rooks in Conveyancing, Gillian Lavelle within family Law, Gemma Eastham in regards to Commercial Conveyancing and Paul Aynsley specialising in Litigation. Each of these incredible people kindly allowed me to work alongside them, whilst I possessed no knowledge of the profession whatsoever, providing me with; expert knowledge, answers to my many questions, a qualified insight into the career, suggestions and much needed help to better myself within the law: in my hope of becoming a solicitor in the subsequent future.

I would like to thank McCarthy Bennett Holland Solicitors, for providing me with this fascinating and enriching experience, and I would also like to go on to personally thank all the staff including Caroline, Gillian, Gemma, Sammy, Paul, Geri, Louise J, Jane, Linda, Rosie, Julie, Joanne, Megan, Kath and Louise H, for such an amazing week, you all made me feel so welcome and happily answered any question I had, I hope to return in the near future as a fully qualified solicitor, to inform you of the huge influence you all had to my life and career path.

Thank you so much,

Nathan Mckee

Protect your land and property from fraudsters

Property fraud is on the increase as fraudsters are using sophisticated tactics and targeting properties by pretending to be you so that they can try and sell or mortgage your property and pocket the proceeds.

Your property is likely to be the most valuable asset you own and it is important therefore to protect it against the risk of fraud.

The Land Registry advise that you are more at risk in the following circumstances:

  • your identity has been stolen
  • your property is rented out
  • you live overseas
  • your property is empty
  • your property is mortgage free
  • your property is unregistered If your property is not currently registered with the Land Registry, you are able to apply for title to the property to be registered voluntarily.  The Land Registry charge a discounted fee for voluntary registrations and our Conveyancing Team at MBH will be able to assist you with this – please telephone us for a quotation. The Land Registry also offers a Property Alert Service which is completely free of charge. Since September 2009, HM Land Registry has prevented 254 fraudulent applications being registered, representing properties valued in excess of £117m – please click on the following link to sign up to the Land Registry’s Property Alert Service:-With the Alert Service you can:
  • Once your property is registered, it is advisable to keep your contact details up to date and this can include providing an email address or an address abroad.  This is particularly important for properties which you do not live in.
  • Your property should be registered if you bought it or mortgaged it from 1998 however, if you are unsure, the Land Registry will be able to confirm whether or not your property is registered with them.  If your property is registered at the Land Registry and you are a victim of property fraud where you suffer financial loss, you will be compensated through the Land Registry indemnity scheme.
  • monitor a property (provided it is registered with HM Land Registry)
  • monitor the property of a relative; you don’t have to own a property to set up an alert
  • choose up to 10 properties to monitor

You will receive email alerts when there is certain activity on the properties you are monitoring. If you receive an alert about an activity that seems suspicious you should take immediate action and follow the steps recommended by the Land Registry as quickly as possible. Not all alert emails will mean fraudulent activity. If you do not think that the alert email is regarding any suspicious activity, you do not need to do anything.

Another option, should you feel that your property is particularly at risk, is to apply for a restriction to be registered against the title to your property. The restriction will prevent the Land Registry registering a sale or mortgage on your property unless a conveyance / solicitor certifies that the application was made by you.

For further information or advice on protecting your property, please contact our Conveyancing Team at MBH by telephone on 01942 206060 or by email to Tel: 01942 206060 Address: 26 Bridgeman Terrace, Wigan WN1 1TD.

Written by Louise Jones, Commercial & Residential Conveyancing Executive