Bailiffs help judges do their job. Their duties vary from place to place,
but bailiffs basically manage a courtroom and jury during a trial. They maintain
custody of prisoners and serve civil and criminal documents. They maintain
order and ensure that the lawful needs of the court are met.
Bailiffs deal with the strange and unexpected every day. "The domestic
relations division definitely exposed me to some ironies of life," says Tim
Mooney, a bailiff in the domestic relations division of the Cuyahoga County
courts in Ohio. "Some are unusual and offbeat."
You need lots of people skills to do this job.
"It's mainly a personality thing," says bailiff John Lodge.
"You meet a lot of different people in a lot of different scenarios, so
you have to have big shoulders and be able to talk your way through some difficult
situations. You have to be tenacious without being too tough. Yet you certainly
can't be timid."
In many states, bailiffs are known as peace officers or sheriffs with all
the attendant skills -- weapons training and a knack for security. In general,
they can be considered law enforcement officers.
Landlords, solicitors and financial institutions often hire bailiffs to
deliver notices or carry out legal orders outside of the court. This is called
Typical job duties for a bailiff include:
- Finding people who are on arrest warrants and taking them into custody
- Taking prisoners to or from courtrooms
- Providing protection to court personnel, jurors and witnesses
- Serving civil and criminal writs
- Guarding prisoners when they are in hospital
- Collecting debts and performing evictions
Bailiffs have to stay in good shape. They have to be able to lift relatively
heavy objects. They have to stand for long periods of time. Mooney logs 40
to 50 hours a week.