If you've ever considered seeking a career in the law enforcement industry, but don't have the physique (or desire) to join a police force, you may have a viable alternative career as a bailiff. These court employees may have the authority to transport prisoners, break up courtroom battles, and even serve legal documents to parties being sued or subpoenaed. Read on to learn more about this vocation and its duties and responsibilities to help you make a fully informed decision.
What job duties does a bailiff have?
Bailiffs are generally employed by the trial and appellate courts to enforce peace and order in the courtroom during court sessions, to transport prisoners to and from the courthouse for hearings and trials, and to provide other security measures (such as escorting litigants to their vehicles if a protective order is in place).
In addition to this law enforcement role, bailiffs have a more legal role in court proceedings as well. Bailiffs are empowered to serve notice of legal proceedings to parties -- this notice is important, as both parties must receive notice of a hearing or trial in order for the judicial officer to take action. After a judgment has been rendered, the bailiff also has the power to seize assets (such as selling a home at a foreclosure sale) or enforce judgments through wage garnishment.
What education do you need to become a bailiff?
There's no specific educational background required for bailiffs, although many have found it easier to transition into this role after being trained as a law enforcement officer or receiving a paralegal or pre-law degree in college. Much of the specific knowledge and training you'll need to become a bailiff will be obtained on the job.
Bailiffs with companies such as A Lower Mainland Bailiff are members of a professional order, similar to a bar association of attorneys or a fraternal order of police officers. Because they hold an important position requiring access to sensitive information, it's difficult to be hired as a bailiff if you have a criminal record. Although some more minor criminal charges (such as underage drinking) may be overlooked, conviction of any violent crimes, fraud, or theft will likely prevent you from becoming a bailiff. You can expect to undergo a background check, as well as perhaps a credit check (to ensure you don't have outstanding liens or other financial difficulties that could lead to embezzlement) before being hired by the trial court.