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Advent Window at TMJ Durham

Posted: 4th December 2019

For the second year in a row TMJ's Gilesgate office is joining in with the Christmas community spirit with a brilliantly decorated Advent Window. 

Come along to see the beautiful window displays from TMJ and other local residents and businesses, with a new window revealed every day until Christmas. 

Drop in and tell us what you think!


Our Range of Services

Posted: 2nd December 2019

We offer a range of advice and services from personal injury to purchases.

Fee free to explore our website or give us a call on 01429 235616 to book a free initial consultation. 

Claiming Refunds from Thomas Cook

Posted: 30th September 2019

If you are a customer affected by the sudden collapse of Thomas Cook and are and need help with an affidavit ro recover your money, please feel free to contact us for assistance on 01429 235616 or 0191 586 5711, or email 

Pass on Something Wonderful

Posted: 6th September 2019

TMJ Legal Services is pleased to celebrate "Remember a Charity Week", which this year runs from 9th to 15th September 2019. 

To mark the 10th anniversary of Remember a Charity Week, more than 200 charities coming together to raise awareness about charitable legacies and to encourage members of the public to "Pass On Something Wonderful" by leaving a gift to charity in their Wills. 

Writing a Will doesn't have to be a complex procedure with the right professional advice. Contact us to make a free appointment for a no obligation chat about your Will, whether you have an existing Will or are thinking about making one. 

More information, including things to consider before your appointment, can be found at the Remember a Charity website. 



Charity Golf Day Results

Posted: 10th July 2019

One of the Directors of TMJ Legal Services, Chris Parker, recently took part in a 72 Hole Golf Challenge at Birtley Golf Club to raise money for charity. 

We are delighted to report that the event raised over £700 for North East Children's Cancer Research and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation. Well done to everyone who took part and thank you to those who donated so generously for such a great cause. 

Chris is an experienced and business-focused Commercial Solicitor who is available for appointments at any of our offices. Phone 01429 235616 / 01429 230029 or email to get in touch.

Charity Golf Day at Birtley Golf Club

Posted: 12th June 2019

One of the Directors of TMJ Legal Services, Chris Parker, will soon be taking part in a 72 Hole Golf Challenge on 28 June 2019 alongside other members of Birtley Golf Club.

Fifty percent of the money raised will be donated to North of England’s Children’s Cancer Research at the Newcastle RVI, while the other 50% will be donated to the Bobby Robson Foundation. As Captain of Birtley Golf Club, Chris has nominated the Bobby Robson Foundation as the Captain’s charity for 2019 to recognise the comfort and support they provided during his father-in law’s battle with cancer. 

The 72 Hole Challenge is sure to be a fun but strenuous challenge in aid of two very important local charities, and we wish Chris and the other participants the very best of luck.

More details can be found on Chris’ Just Giving page here:

Chris is an experienced and business-focused Commercial Solicitor who is available for appointments at any of our offices. Phone 01429 235616 / 01429 230029 or email to get in touch.

Lexcel Legal Practice Quality Mark

Posted: 9th April 2019

Everyone at TMJ Legal Services is extremely proud to confirm that we have retained our Lexcel accreditation for another year. 

The Lexcel Legal Practice Quality Mark is an independent accreditation awarded by The Law Society of England and Wales which recognises excellence within legal practices, and retaining our accreditation required the firm to pass a rigorous inspection. We received excellent feedback from the audit.

Lexcel accreditation recognises not just the quality of the work which our Solicitors carry out, but that of our whole team of staff. The Directors would like to take this opportunity to thank all staff members of TMJ Legal Services for their hard work and their commitment to high standards of client care. 



How to Sell a Business

Posted: 26th March 2019

A business can have lots of different forms, and business owners can have wide varying wishes when they come to sell their business. Business owners must have an understanding of the law and the procedure required when it is time to sell a business.

The procedure for selling a business varies significantly whether one is carrying on business as a sole trader or a limited company. Most business owners are well-versed in the concept that a limited company is its own “Legal Person” and this can be very attractive because it is the company that is liable to its own debts, and not the individuals, as is the case with sole traders.

To set up their business, sole traders can, in a roundabout way, start trading straight away. However, a company must be incorporated and appoint people to the necessary positions, which can be time consuming without the right help. The directors manage the company day to day, and the shareholders own the company. For smaller companies, these are often the same people. 

Now the scene is set, lets skip to the end of the cycle and look at what happens when a limited company is sold, and what happens when a sole trander sells their business. 

Two individuals have found buyers for their respective kitchen and bathroom businesses. One is a limited company (sole director and 100% shareholder - we will call her Mrs Limited Company) and the other is a sole trader - Mr Sole Trader.

Both businesses are made up of the following:

  • Lease of premises
  • Stock
  • Plant and machinery
  • Goodwill
  • 2 employees. 

When Mr Sole Trader sells his business. everything listed will pass from them to the buyer. Of course, the employees will have to be transferred appropriately to the new owner, because there are provisions that employees and their contracts should not be unfairly altered. Specifically, employees should remain with the business on the same terms. If not, they may have a claim for constructive dismissal if they choose to leave, or unfair dismissal if they are not kept on. Any changes that must be made should be sent to the employee in writing, such as holiday/sickness changes and pension alterations (see more from TUPE 2006). 

Once everything is agreed and the asset purchase agreement is drafted, the parties can complete the transaction, and Mr Sole Trader can move on.

Mrs Limited Company has two options. She is the owner of the limited company as 100% shareholder and can therefore:

  • Sell the business and retain the company name by completing an asset sale
  • Sell the company by completing a share sale

Mrs Limited Company may want to retain the company name and branch out into another business area. It is important to understand that the company as a “legal person” would remain with her and the process to follow would be the same as Mr Sole Trader; selling the assets and transferring the employees.

If Mrs Limited Company wanted to dispose of the company, there would be a different agreement; a share transfer agreement. The shares are bought and not the assets. By selling the shares, the assets will not move, they are all still in the company’s name, but the company has changed ownership. Similarly, the employees now do not need transferring because they have remained with their employer company. Materialistically, the leasehold property remains with the company and there will be no need to contact the landlord for permission to assign the lease, which Mr Sole Trader would have done, all leading to a quicker process.

The two routes for the company open two very different opportunities as well as procedure, which is why this knowledge is so important to a business owner.

To discuss the options for your business, get in touch with our commercial team on 01429 235 616.

Vacancy - Conveyancing Assistant

Posted: 8th March 2019

Job title:             Conveyancing Assistant

Salary:                To be agreed

Job Description:

TMJ Legal Services are looking for an enthusiastic individual to assist conveyancers in the day to day administration of client files.  The successful applicant will be based at the Durham office but would be expected to travel between the firms other offices if required.  Previous experience of conveyancing work would be desirable.  Duties will also include typing, taking telephone calls, filing and other duties as required by the conveyancers.

Person Requirements:

  • English and Maths GCSE or equivalent grade C or above
  • Knowledge and use of IT systems including MS Word and Excel
  • Good verbal and written communication skills
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Able to work to a deadline and under pressure.
  • Able to work as part of a team.

Working hours:

Full time – Monday to Friday – 9am to 5pm

Start date:

April/May 2019

Application Information:

Email CV and covering letter to , apply via the Government Gateway here or by post to Helen Edwardes, Administration Manager, TMJ Legal Services, Foster House, 99 Raby Road, Hartlepool, TS24 8DT.

Vacancy - Part Time Receptionist / Telephonist

Posted: 6th March 2019


Job title: Receptionist / Telephonist

Salary:  To be agreed

Working hours: Part time

Job Description: Receptionist and telephonist duties, typing and general administration. The role is based at our Hartlepool office but the person employed should be willing to travel to any of our offices.

Person Requirements: 

  • English and Maths GCSE or equivalent Grade C or aboce
  • Knowledge and experience of IT systems including MS Word and Excel
  • Experience of working as a receptionist and/or telephonist with good administrative skills 
  • Good verbal and written communication skills
  • Excellent attention to detail

Start date: April/May 2019

Application information: Email CV and covering letter to or by post to Helen Edwardes, TMJ Legal Services, Foster House, 99 Raby Road, Hartlepool, TS24 8DT. 

To see the Job Centre advertisement for the role and to apply using the Government Gateway click here

What are Freehold and Leasehold Properties?

Posted: 5th March 2019

You might have heard the terms “Leasehold property” or “Freehold property”, and are wondering what these phrases mean.  

Well, simply put, in English law, if you own a freehold property, what you own is a perpetual title to the land included in the title, and any property built on the land. Freehold titles last forever, and cannot be ended prematurely. Freehold titles can be transferred, sold, gifted and mortgaged.

Leasehold property is a little different, because when you own a leasehold property, what you own is the right to occupy the land, and any property included in the title for a set period of time, but you do NOT own the land the property is built upon and your ownership is subject to the terms of a Lease granted by the landlord. The landlord is the person who owns the freehold title out of which the leasehold title has been granted, and is sometimes referred to as the “Freeholder”.  

A lease is essentially a type of tenancy, however unlike a normal tenancy of rented accommodation, which is a personal right, a lease is a legal interest which can be sold on, gifted, transferred or mortgaged - in many ways just like a freehold title. However, unlike freehold titles, which last forever, the lease which creates the leasehold title will grant the title for a set length of time, which can vary widely depending upon the terms of the lease. It is quite common to see leasehold titles granted for 99 or even 999 years. A leasehold title is sometimes known as a “term of years absolute”.

As the owner of the leasehold title, you have the right to occupy the property for as long as the lease which created the title remains valid. However, there may also be conditions within the lease which you have to comply with, otherwise the lease might be forfeited, which would allow the landlord to obtain possession of the property without waiting for the term of years the lease was granted for to expire.

You may be required to pay rent to the freeholder during your ownership of the leasehold property, which is known as “ground rent”. Sometimes, usually where the lease is very old, the ground rent will be a negligible amount which is not actually collected by the landlord. At the end of the term of the Lease, unless the Lease has been extended, the freeholder will recover the property.

Usually, where a property is a flat, you can expect this to be a leasehold property, although this is not always the case. This is because the grant of a Lease allows the landlord to control what the tenants are permitted to do, and can require the tenants to make payments towards the upkeep of common areas. It is also possible to have a leasehold house - this is quite common in the Wingate and Trimdon areas of County Durham. 

The conveyancing team at TMJ Legal Services has extensive experience with a wide variety of freehold and leasehold properties, both flats and houses, and can also advise freeholders and leaseholders on the terms of Leases, extension of Leases, and the grant of new Leases. Contact a member of our team today if you have any queries regarding any aspect of leasehold or freehold land, and we will be glad to assist.

Why are Lasting Powers of Attorney so important?

Posted: 21st January 2019

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document which allows you to decide who to appoint to make decisions on your behalf about your property & finances and/or your health & welfare. An LPA can be used by your attorney(s) in the event that you are no longer able to make such decisions.

A Property & Financial Affairs LPA covers aspects concerning your property & finances. For example, your attorney can assist with managing your bank accounts or contacting various financial institutions on your behalf. They can also act in more significant decisions for example, selling or purchasing a property. This LPA can be used both with your consent and in the event you are no longer able to make decisions yourself.

A Health & Welfare LPA allows your appointed attorney(s) to make decisions about your personal welfare for example your day to day care, decisions in relation to medical treatment and also life sustaining treatment, if you have expressly authorised this in your LPA. A Health & Welfare LPA can only be used if you lack capacity to make these decisions yourself.

According to the Alzheimer’s Society by 2025 more than 1 million people in the UK will have dementia. If you ever lost capacity, handling your affairs becomes virtually impossible.

If you are unable to manage your own affairs there is no automatic right for your spouse, partner, children, family member or friend to access your money or manage your personal affairs.

This is why an LPA is vital to help protect you and your family.

If you do not have an LPA in place and you were no longer able to manage your affairs your family can face the drawn out process of applying to the Court of Protection to appoint them as Deputy to act on your behalf. The cost of this application is much more expensive than an LPA application. Even more concerning is the choice of who to appoint lies with the Court, not with you, potentially resulting in someone acting who you may have not wanted to.

You can instruct a Solicitor to ensure your LPA is properly drafted and registered at the Office of the Public Guardian. For further information, please do not hesitate to contact me on 01429 230031 or email at

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