Bailiff Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Bailiff, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Bailiff?

(n) Bailiff is the custodian appointed or otherwise assigned by a court to hold the custody of an incompetent person, properties involved in the legal process and help the jury, judges and court staff in the court procedures.

History and Meaning of Bailiff

A bailiff is a court officer whose duties include maintaining order in the courtroom, securing jurors, and escorting prisoners to and from the courtroom. The position dates back to medieval England, where the bailiff was responsible for enforcing the law and maintaining order in the community. Today, bailiffs can serve in both civil and criminal cases and are appointed or hired by the court, government agency, or private firm.

Examples of Bailiff

  1. The bailiff ordered everyone to rise as the judge entered the courtroom.

  2. The bailiff escorted the defendants in handcuffs from the holding cell to the courtroom.

  3. The bailiff was responsible for keeping the jury sequestered throughout the trial.

  4. The bailiff seized the defendant's property as part of a court order to satisfy a debt.

Legal Terms Similar to Bailiff

  1. Sheriff - an elected or appointed law enforcement official with a range of duties, including maintaining order in the courtroom, serving court orders, and enforcing the law.

  2. Marshal - a law enforcement officer who serves a federal court by providing protection to the court and its officers, executing federal court orders, and conducting investigations.

  3. Process server - an individual or company responsible for delivering legal documents, such as subpoenas and summonses, to the recipient.