What they do
Bailiffs assist in the operation of courts by ensuring that all legal and courtroom procedures are carried out correctly. They maintain order and security during courtroom proceedings, ensuring that the needs of the jury are met. They open and prepare courtrooms for session, and liaise with judges to ensure that hearings may proceed. During courtroom sessions they relay messages between jurors and the court, escort defendants and witnesses in and out of the courtroom, handle evidence, and operate audio-visual recording and playback equipment. Bailiffs may also issue summonses, writs and other court orders, and may also be involved in debt collection.
Bailiffs work in courtrooms around the state, from our large criminal and federal courts in Perth, to smaller country courts in country towns and regional centres. They generally work regular business hours, but may be expected to work longer hours at times, for example during lengthy court proceedings. Bailiffs may be required to stand for long periods of time, and may be required to deal with people with an unstable or unruly demeanour. Bailiffs are,on occasion, required to deal with difficult or uncomfortable situations. They may also be required to visit the homes of debtors.
Tools and technologies
Bailiffs use computers and other office equipment, as well as legal and courtroom archives. They use accounting and bookkeeping software and cash registers to process payments to the court. They handle evidence and courtroom documentation, and operate courtroom equipment such as laptops, LCD projectors, X-Ray view boxes, interactive smartboards and other audio-visual equipment.
How do I become one?
Education and training
It is possible to work as a court bailiff or sheriff without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, entry into this occupation may be improved if you have experience in debt collection, policing, security or private investigation. The education and training requirements for this occupation are undergoing a formal review. This may or may not lead to changes in the requirements.
Entry into this profession may also be improved by obtaining a qualification in legal services or a related area.
The Certificate III in Business Administration (Legal Services), Certificate IV in Legal Services, and Diploma of Legal Services are offered at TAFE Colleges throughout Western Australia.