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Court bailiff or sheriff (Aus)

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Summary of occupation

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.

ANZSCO description: Implements court orders and serves legal orders and summonses as an officer of the court.
Alternative names: Bailiff, Court Bailiff, Court Clerk, Court Collections Officer (NZ), Court Orderly
Specialisations: Clerk of Court, Court Registrar, Court Sheriff, Sheriff's Officer (Aus)
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A bailiff needs:

  • a desire to assist the justice system
  • strong communication and negotiation skills
  • an efficient and methodical approach to their work
  • the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • maturity and responsibility
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Working conditions

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.

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Salary details

On average, court bailiffs or sheriffs, classified under court and legal clerks, can expect to earn between $1 000 and $1 249 per week ($52 000 and $64 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a court bailiff or sheriff develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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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.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

You can work as a bailiff without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, entry into this occupation may be enhanced if you have experience in debt collection, policing, security or private investigation.

Once you are employed you may need to complete a Certificate III in Financial Services. Training tends to be delivered by the company you work for.

The Certificate III in Financial Services is offered at registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.

Alternatively, you may improve your employment prospects by completing a formal qualification in legal services.

VET qualifications in legal services are available through registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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