Local Solicitors for Local People

01942 20 60 60


All of the Partners in the Law Practice are hands on and at your disposal. Each Partner is an experienced solicitor with a broad wealth of experience and a particular interest or speciality that enables us as a Practice to offer a "one stop shop" for all the legal services that you require whether it to be for you, your family, your business or your workplace.

The Partners are assisted by qualified Solicitors, Licensed Conveyancers, Legal Executives & Trainee Solicitors, together with experienced secretaries and loyal administrative staff most of whom have been with the Practice for a lengthy time and are well known to our existing clients.

Our aim is to provide a personal service and friendly professional prompt reliable and accurate advice to you the client.


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  • Paul D. Aynsley LL.B. (Hons) - Partner

    Paul is Partner who has been with McCarthy Bennett Holland for over 27 years.  Paul is no longer accepting new cases.  Please contact Darren Earnshaw in respect of any enquiries.

    Paul is a very experienced Litigation Lawyer who has been with McCarthy Bennett Holland for over 25 years.  Paul qualified as a Solicitor in 1991.

    He has an in depth knowledge of a wide range of litigious matters encompassing all aspects of Civil Litigation to include Debt actions, Insolvency matters, Personal Injury Claims and actions arising out of breach of Contract. A proportion of Paul's work arises out of Accidents at Work and Road Traffic accidents. Paul is a long-standing member of The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers.

    For many years Paul has also practiced as an Employment Lawyer in claims before the Industrial Tribunal and is used to acting for both Employees and Employers.  Paul carries out a lot of work for Employees with regards to Compromise or Settlement Agreements.

    Paul also prepares Lasting Powers of Attorney, Court of Protection Orders and Wills.  Paul is also involved in Probate & Estate Management.

    Finally, Paul is also a qualified Family Solicitor and has trained as a Family Mediator albeit he is no longer practicing.

    Paul has worked on approximately 500 cases including litigation and wills & probate per year since qualifying as a Solicitor.  Paul is supervised by Caroline Rooks.

    Outside of work Paul enjoys a number of different interests such a listening to rock music and attending rock concerts. He follows a number of different sporting events, such as football, boxing and cricket. He has a very keen interest in horse racing and attends some of the key festivals in the racing calendar. He also enjoys socialising with friends and family.

  • John C. Petrie BA - Partner

    John was born and raised in Wigan. He joined MBH Solicitors in August 2002 as a residential conveyancing Solicitor, having qualified as a Solicitor in 1983.

    Throughout his career as a solicitor John has specialised in residential conveyancing. He has bought and sold numerous houses, properties and apartments for clients both in Wigan and the surrounding towns and throughout the UK.

    He has extensive experience in knowing what problems can arise when you are buying and selling houses. John has the experience to avoid these problems or to take the necessary action to prevent the problems arising.  In this way he is able to ensure that your house move goes through as smoothly and swiftly as possible.

    John has worked on approximately 300 cases per year since qualifying.  John is supervised by Head of Department, Caroline Rooks.

    Outside of work John enjoys reading and also has a passion for Rugby League and needless to say, in particular, Wigan Warriors and has been for many years a long-standing season ticket holder at Central Park and the DW Stadium. John also enjoys watching the horse racing and attends some of the key festivals in the racing calendar.

  • Caroline Rooks LL.B - Partner

    Caroline completed her Law Degree in 1998 at the University of Teeside and completed the Legal Practice Course at Northumbria University in Newcastle the following year. She qualified as a Solicitor in 2002 and qualified as a Licensed Conveyancer in the same year.

    Caroline has worked in the field of Residential Conveyancing in the Wigan area since 2002 and during this time has assisted many people in both Wigan and across the country with their sales, purchase and re-mortgages. Caroline is approachable, well organised and well-liked by her clients who come back again and again.

    Caroline has worked on approximately 550 cases per year since 2014.  Caroline is supervised by Paul Aynsley.

    Outside the office Caroline enjoys spending time with her young family. She follows many sports including Rugby League supporting Wigan Warriors and football supporting Manchester United. Caroline is also an avid fan of cycling.

    Email: CarolineRooks@wigansolicitors.com

  • Gillian Lavelle Solicitor FCILEX - Partner

    Gillian began her legal career as a legal secretary in an award winning top 500 law firm. Encouraged by the firm who recognised her potential and wishing to progress her career she studied part time and swiftly attained Legal Executive status. She was promoted to a fee earner in December 2006 and to her delight qualified as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives in June 2010 specialising in Family Law.

    At that point most people would have settled for that, but not Gillian. She made the decision to continue her part time studies at Manchester Metropolitan University to enable her to become a Solicitor. Gillian qualified as a Solicitor in July 2014.  Gillian was promoted to Partnership on 1st May 2018.

    Gillian has worked in the field of Family Law since 2010 and in the Wigan & Manchester area throughout. She has a wealth of experience in divorce and financial resolutions including property and pension adjustments following a break up. She also has vast knowledge with injunction applications and children and contact issues. She is familiar with all the local Courts and their procedures.

    Gillian also specialises in cohabitation disputes (unmarried couples) and has worked with in this area since December 2006. Gillian is able to help in all family breakdowns regardless of whether there is a marriage.

    Gillian has worked on approximately 200 cases per year since qualifying as a Legal Executive.  Gillian is supervised by her senior partner, Paul Aynsley.

    Clients like Gillian’s no nonsense approach, the fact that she is down to earth, well organised, well-motivated, thorough in her preparation and accurate in the advice that she gives.

    Outside the office Gillian enjoys spending time with her family. She enjoys reading, relaxing and catching up with family time at weekends.

  • Sammy-Jo Woodward LL.B - Licenced Conveyancer & Solicitor

    Sammy completed her Law Degree at the University of Salford in 2014. She qualified as a Licenced Conveyancer in October 2016 and as a Solicitor in November 2018.  She is therefore dual qualified.

    Sammy has worked in various roles at McCarthy Bennett Holland including receptionist and secretary before working her way up to fee earner level.  She therefore has vast knowledge of the firm and the local client base.  Sammy has worked closely with our Head of Conveyancing, Caroline Rooks to deliver a reliable service when buying, selling or transferring property. She is always ready with a smile and goes above and beyond to assist clients wherever possible.

    Sammy works within our busy conveyancing team dealing with all residential conveyancing matters.

    Sammy has worked on approximately 150 amount of cases per year since qualifying.  Sammy is supervised by Caroline Rooks.

    In her free time, Sammy loves drawing, painting and reading. She also runs a blog where she regularly works on watercolours and scenic stamping. She is a regular ice-skater and swimmer. She enjoys attending the theatre, musicals and concerts.

    Email: SammyWoodward@wigansolicitors.com

  • Gemma Eastham LL.B. (Hons) - Commercial Property Solicitor

    Gemma EasthamGemma Eastham is the most recent solicitor recruited to join Team MBH.  Gemma obtained her Law Degree & Post-Graduate Degree at the University of Central Lancashire and graduated in December 2016.  Alongside her studies she has been working in private practice since 2012 and thereafter qualified as a Solicitor in July 2017.

    Gemma specialises in Property Law and in particular Commercial Property.

    Gemma deals with a range of Commercial Property matters including Commercial leases for warehousing and retail, ancillary related Landlord and Tenant matters, Property Development work, Property Refinancing and Commercial and Residential purchases and sales.

    Gemma is friendly and approachable. She is a good listener and has an attention to detail.  She enjoys finding solutions to problems.  Gemma sees a problem as a challenge to be overcome.

    She has considerable experience in assisting clients in setting up new business ventures and the acquisition of businesses.  She is happy to work closely with the client’s accountants and financial advisors to achieve the best vehicle of acquisition whether that be through a company, partnership or sole trader.

    She has worked on approximately 30 cases per month.

    Gemma is always prepared to go the extra mile to ensure that the best outcome is always achieved.

    Gemma is a first aider and outside of work spends her free time socialising with friends and family (including two sphynx cats). Gemma also enjoys outdoor activities and keeping fit.

    Email: Gemma.Eastham@wigansolicitors.com

  • Louise Jones - Commercial & Conveyancing Executive

    Louise JonesLouise Jones joined Team MBH in April 2018 and has now gained 20 years’ experience of working within the commercial and conveyancing property sector.

    Louise began her career in a secretarial capacity and has progressed from that role to paralegal and more recently to a fee earning role as a Commercial and Conveyancing Executive.  She specialises in both commercial and residential sales, purchases and re-mortgaging/ refinancing, and also has experience of dealing with Pension Fund sales and purchases, Auction sales and purchases, Licences to Assign and development sales.  Louise is supervised by Caroline Rooks.

    Louise will soon be qualified as an Associate member of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives and is currently working towards becoming a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executive via CILEx Law School.

    Louise has worked predominantly in the Wigan area throughout her career.  She has a friendly and down to earth approach and prides herself on her organisational skills, customer care and client satisfaction.  Louise is dedicated to progressing transactions as quickly and smoothly as possible and always uses her best efforts to achieve any timescales provided by clients.

    Outside the office, as well as being busy with studying, Louise enjoys spending time with her family, two German Shepherds and friends.

    Louise can be contacted at louisejones@wigansolicitors.com

  • Megan Brookfield - Trainee Solicitor

    Megan BrookfieldMegan joined the MBH team in November 2019 as a Family Paralegal and has recently progressed into the role of a Trainee Solicitor. Megan will qualify as a solicitor on 31 August 2021.

    Megan is currently studying her post graduate degree in Legal Practice alongside her Masters (LLM) at BPP Law School, Manchester and will graduate in 2020.  Megan has previously studied Law with Criminology at the University of Liverpool obtaining a 2:1 classification.

    Megan joins us having previous experience in a number of family matters, including Divorce, Finances, Private Children and Domestic Violence. She is supervised by Partner, Gillian Lavelle.

    Clients like the fact that Megan supports and enables them to move successfully from their present situation onto the next stage in their lives in a calm, confident and approachable manner.  She is also a good listener.

    Outside of work, Megan knows the area well having lived in Wigan for most of her life. She is also an Appropriate Adult, helping and assisting vulnerable adults during the interview process at the police station. She also writes a number of blogs for Amicus, a charity which provides representation for those facing the death penalty. Megan also continues to be a Professional Mentor for the University of Liverpool.

    During her spare time, Megan likes to attend the gym, read or socialise with friends.

  • Darren Earnshaw - Senior Legal Advisor

    Darren EarnshawDarren has recently joined our team and brings with him over 29 years knowledge and experience. He previously worked for a well-established Liverpool City Centre practice where he conducted Civil Litigation and Private Client matters.

    Darren is approachable, conscientious and deals with all matters from initial instruction through to settlement or Final Hearing.

    Darren’s areas of expertise include:-

    • Accidents at work
    • Public Liability Claims (slip/trip)
    • Occupiers Liability Claims (slip/trip)
    • Product Liability Claims
    • Criminal Injuries Compensation Claims (C.I.C.A)
    • Road Traffic Accident
    • Industrial Disease Claims
    • Clinical Negligence Claims
    • Probate
    • Contested Probate
    • Court of Protection
    • Power of Attorney
    • Wills & Trusts
    • Employment Law
    • Landlord & Tenant

    Darren has worked on approximately 500 cases including litigation and wills & probate per year.  Darren is supervised by Gillian Lavelle.

    In Darren’s spare time he enjoys running and he is also a season ticket holder with Everton Football Club. He also enjoys watching both codes of Rugby.

    Darren is a member of the Runcorn Christian Aid Committee arranging fundraising events’ that work globally for profound change that eradicates the causes of poverty, striving to achieve equality, dignity and freedom for all, regardless of faith or nationality.

    Darren has also joined the Board of Trustees for Halton Carers Centre, Runcorn.  Halton Carers Centre is a registered charity and a company limited by a guarantee.  Their aim is to ensure that carers in Halton receive the best possible advice and support to meet their needs.

    Cases of Note:

    In 2010, Darren was involved in a Multi-Party Civil claim.  This involved in obtaining settlement for over a 1,000 Claimants in his cohort, who had been adversely affected by the escape of sewage odour from the Sandon Dock Waste Water Treatment Plant in Liverpool. Global settlement of £4,000.000.00 was achieved on behalf of 3000 registered Claimants.

    In 2013 Darren settled a claim for £96,000.00 damages, the case involved an Ambulance Trust who had failed to collect and take patient to the hospital within the scope of the Standard Operating Procedures thus resulting in the patients’ death.  The claim was brought by the family which included a dependency claim.

    In 2016, Darren settled a claim for £75,000.00.  The case involved a 4 year old child who was playing with a pram, where part of the pram became defective and penetrated her eye.  As a result the child lost sight in one eye.  A claim was brought by the family as the pram was classed as a defective product.

    Contact:  DarrenEarnshaw@wigansolicitors.com

  • Support Staff

    To provide you with a quick overview of our support staff please see the following:

    • Julie Barlow is Sammy-Jo Woodward’s secretary.  She has worked for MBH Solicitors since November 1991.  She can be contacted at JBarlow@wigansolicitors.com
    • Geraldine Eccles is Paul Aynsley’s secretary.  She has worked for Paul since December 2012.  She can be contacted at GeraldineEccles@wigansolicitors.com
    • Joanne Dinsmore is Gillian Lavelle’s secretary.  She has worked for MBH since April 2009 and specialised in family work.  She can be contacted at JoanneDinsmore@wigansolicitors.com
    • Linda Lane is Caroline Rooks secretary in the conveyancing department.  Linda joined us in early 2016 and she can be contacted at LindaLane@wigansolicitors.com
    • Janet Higham is our receptionist.  She is always friendly and helpful to all clients.  Janet has worked for MBH since August 2007.  Janet is in charge of our general incoming e-mails and you can contact her at mbh@wigansolicitors.com
    • Rosie Boon is Gillian Lavelle's secretary.  She has worked for MBH since August 2015.  She can be contacted at RosieBoon@wigansolicitors.com
    • Jane Ollerton is an accountant and our Head of Accounts and is responsible for keeping MBH’s accounts up to date.  Jane has worked for MBH since February 2013.  Jane can be contacted at Jane.Ollerton@wigansolicitors.com
    • Carole Charlson is our latest receptionist who also completes a variety of general office duties for all staff.  Carole joined MBH in April 2017.  Carole can also be contacted at mbh@wigansolicitors.com
    • Kath Shallicker is the probate clerk and assists Paul Aynsley.  She joined MBH in June 2018.  She can be contacted at KathShallicker@wigansolicitors.com
    • Louise Hughes is our most recent addition to the secretarial team and works primarily for John Petrie.  Louise joined us in February 2019. Louise can be contacted at LouiseHughes@wigansolicitors.com
    • Jane Ollerton joined MBH in February 2013 and is our Head of Accounts and can be contacted at JaneOllerton@wigansolicitors.com


McCarthy Bennett Holland Solicitors

26, Bridgeman Terrace, Wigan WN1 1TD

01942 206060

01942 200505

Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. SRA No. 00329730

This firm maintains professional indemnity insurance in accordance with the rules of the Solicitors Regulation Authority

Details of the insurers and the territorial coverage of the policy are available for inspection at our offices.