A bailiff is a neutral orator, supervisor or administrator; an official of some kind who has the responsibility of collecting monies owed to him. Bailiffs come in many forms and their functions and locations vary widely. One example is the office of the recorder in a county. Another example is a court clerk. Any office where one may encounter a bailiff is called a bailiff’s office.
When goods are owing someone money, either because they are not able to repay or they are bankrupt, bailiffs are called in to take control of the goods. Usually this means that they are required to seize goods which are in the possession of another. If a bankruptcy occurs, the court will order a bailiff to immediately seize any property that is owed to a bankrupt. This does not usually happen in all countries, as in the United States it is generally the case that bankruptcy is avoided by leaving the goods in the possession of someone else. However, in some states the creditor will be forced to surrender the goods without the option of repaying.
Another function of bailiffs is to recover unpaid debts that cannot be settled by a compromise. This involves the use of physical force, whether or not the person being summoned actually has a weapon drawn. Self-employed bailiffs can also use physical force if the necessary legal remedies have been granted.
Bailiffs also have the responsibility of making sure that money owed to vendors is collected on the first visit. They do this by going to residences and businesses with a view to gaining entry without knocking, and then interviewing the vendors and taking payment from them when they are present. Some states allow bailiffs to make the first visit of the day, while others allow them to come at a later time. If the vendor is not present at the time of the first visit, the bailiff must wait for a specified amount of time before making another visit.
It is important to note that although bailiffs can enter private property, they are not allowed to seize any items that are equivalent to the value of 1,350 pounds. This means that goods worth less than this cannot be taken without the permission of the lender. Goods worth more than this are normally seized.
A creditor may seek to have bailiffs removed from a home or office, but they are not legally allowed to force their way into a building. Instead, the creditor will need to apply to the courts to get a constable to remove the bailiffs. A creditor will usually only pursue this once the bailiff has failed to return the money owed. However, the courts will always treat a bailiff who has failed to pay money owed as someone who has acted in bad faith.