Bailiffs work for the courts enforcing court orders, or for clients or government departments that are owed sums of money.
In Scotland, officers of court (sheriff officers in the regional civil courts, and messengers-at-arms in the Court of Session) serve legal documents and carry out enforcement procedures. They have the authority to force entry to both domestic and commercial properties. They also offer practical advice to the debtor.
Sheriff officers are permitted to work in a geographical area for which they hold a ‘commission’.
Messengers-at-arms may travel anywhere in Scotland to enforce orders of the court.
Duties might include:
Most bailiffs work around 37 hours a week Monday to Friday, but are often called out at weekends. Evening and early morning work is also common. Part-time work is possible. Many bailiffs combine this work with other jobs.
Bailiffs are office-based but spend most of their time travelling and visiting debtors.
A clean driving licence is necessary.
To be a bailiff you should:
In Scotland there are about 200 sheriff officers; around 130 of these are also messengers-at-arms. All bailiffs are employed within private business partnerships, and are commissioned to practise as officers of court.
Vacancies are infrequent. The members list on the Society of Messengers-at-Arms and Sheriff Officers website is a good place to start as contacts for possible vacancies.
Progression is from sheriff officer to messenger-at-arms.
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