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What is a bailiff[edit]

OK, stupid question time. In the picture at the top, who is the bailiff? The woman or the man? Just wondering... The Singing Badger 23:47, 26 May 2005 (UTC)

The man is the Bailiff, I'm not sure who the woman is (And yes, a new picture would be helpful) Sherurcij July 7, 2005 19:21 (UTC)

Why does it mention september 11th in the new york section? Not really relavent in the whole "what is a baliff?" question

Reply to apparently old question by unknown contributor: I removed the utterly irrelevant " Three NYS Court Officers were killed during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. Dozens of Court Officers from the courts in lower Manhattan responded to the scene prior to the collapse of the towers." from the article. There must have been hundreds of bailiffs killed around the world in the last six years, and at that location and time it is not a surprise. Nor their and many other people working in the neighbourhood to have arrived early at the scene. — SomeHuman 03 Sep2007 02:11 (UTC)


Although I've no reason to believe that the information in this section is incorrect, it is written in legalese, which is almost impenetrable to the layman and bears no resemblance to what 90% of the people in England understand to be a bailiff. I don't really feel qualified or knowledgeable enough to remove swathes of what may, or may not, be an accurate description of a bailiff - anybody fancy having a go? Tellkel 14:03, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

To the best of my knowledge and reading on the subject the information is accurate. It could go even further than it does. The main article already deals with the concept of a "bailiff" in general language. This "England" section commences to deal with the specific jurisdiction. If the article is to serve the function of extending and enriching the reader's knowledge then it needs, as it does, to start using the relevant legal language associated with this subject in the "England" jurisdiction. Add to it, claify it but do not deprive readers by removing accurate information. Lanyon 03:00, 22 September 2007 (UTC)

As someone who has worked in the enforcement industry for a very long time the update added some time ago which keep being reverted are 100% true and accurate, the user(s) who keep reverting them is wrong. (danmcr)

It is strongly recommended that you read WP:OR and understand that your source is unacceptable. You must provide online sources that are independent of you to back up your changes. Otherwise they will always be reverted. Thank you. (talk) 00:27, 4 August 2013 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
Time to close this. Clearly no consensus. -- P 1 9 9   16:37, 14 March 2014 (UTC)

Apart from some external links, the very short article Huissier de justice has little more to offer than what can be found under Bailiff. That article handles the medieval as well as the modern names of people in the different law systems of several countries, including those using the term "Huissier de justice", while this name also appears to violate the naming convention for WP articles. There is no need to have such rudimentary information in a separate article titled by a purely French word. — SomeHuman 03 Sep2007 01:04 (UTC)

No don't merge. Merely because the term "Huissier de justice" is commonly translated into english as "bailiff" or "sheriff" does not mean that they are bailiffs or sheriffs. The terms "Sheriff" and "bailiff" have a relevance, history & development within the legal system rooted in English law. It appears the "Hussier de justice" has a seperate meaning, history & relevance in the European civil law system. It seems they are similar ("like") but not identical to bailiffs and that the term is not merely a French translation of the word "bailiff". The article should be developed to speak about the unique characteristics of that role or function and it's histoical development in that civil law legal system. Lanyon 03:48, 22 September 2007 (UTC)

This proposal seems dead, I am removing the template. -Rrius (talk) 04:34, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

Ridiculous WP-behaviour, Rrius. The proposal stood for 19 days before a single rejection came. And just 9 days later you decided to eliminate the opportunity of others to give their viewpoint on this undecided matter, by your rejection without giving even the least argumentation.
There are almost no terms in different languages that have a mutually identical content. A 'door' in English may be considered rather different from what seals an Inuit's iglo, but if an English door would have more hinges than a French, that fact needs to be said within the article 'Door' and not in some 'Porte'. Napoleonic European Law is in general very different from Anglo-Saxon oriented Law, hence nearly all functions including the most common have important differences, worth noting inside the articles about the mainly corresponding functions known by their name in English - not in 'Juge', 'Avocat', 'Huissier de justice', 'Greffier de tribunal'. A 'Flic' can not proceed exactly like a 'Cop' either. Furthermore, the article's name 'Huissier de justice' is not known in English language at all, no more than 'Gerechtsdeurwaarder'; then why choosing as article name the French term and not the Dutch, Italian, German, Greek... (and how would we spell the latter)? Thus this "article" has no right to exist on this WP. Put the uniqueness of continental European bailiffs in the article 'Bailiff'. There is not even the need for redirects from foreign language terms, since googling will end up at that language's WP and the left baulk at its article there should point for English language to our 'Bailiff'. By the way, unlike what the current text indicates, 60% of the Belgians do not use the term 'huissier de justice' but the Dutch 'gerechtsdeurwaarder', and for instance the specific process server aspects that differentiate these from the ordinary 'deurwaarder' remain quite in line with the former and the latter being bailiffs because they basically do what only bailiffs do.
I suggest using for instance instead of making this WP a French+English Wikipedia. And yes, what is described in 'Huissier' (though that French language term also means 'deurwaarder' and as such needs to be in 'Bailiff' - a meaning not even mentioned in its own article) does need to be merged with 'Usher' as well. I'll leave that and similarly created doubling articles to others. ▲ SomeHuman 2011-01-26 16:09-17:26 (UTC)

Look more carefully at the dates. The proposal was made in September, and I removed the template (and said here I was doing so) three months later, not nine days as you say. I haven't read your proposal nor the rationale of the person who opposed you. All I did was see that after three months there had been no further discussion. I hope you just misread the dates, but I have to question why you felt the need to restart this old discussion more than three years later rather than starting a new discussion. -Rrius (talk) 21:03, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Sorry about that, Rrius. Indeed I did have a lapse of clear vision and had been convinced you had acted in September. That caused my remark to appear more rude than you deserved and I honestly apologize for this and stroke-through the inappropriate part. Nevertheless, the longer time did not fully justify eliminating the banner - it just meant that people had not been giving much attention to the 'Bailiff' article and probably none to an in English not even existing term. The banner should have stayed, I do not think there is any time limit indicated for this at WP and one is supposed to keep waiting for some consensus to appear.▲ SomeHuman 2011-01-27 05:28 (UTC)
  • Oppose Now that SomeHuman has in a rude way drawn me into this, I've taken a look at the articles, and it is clear that the French officials have a far wider range of duties than those in any of the Anglo-phone countries. Some of those duties overlap those of a lawyer's and a notary public (at least in the American sense), with others seeming to be judicial or quasi-judicial. Perhaps that is not true in Belgium, but it appears that the range of duties and powers of HJs in the Francophone world taken in sum don't match up all that well with bailiffs. -Rrius (talk) 02:52, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
By that approach, Rrius, we need to have most terms in French, Chinese, Japanese etc (and not only those related to Law) as full-blown WP articles. It is customary (and article naming policy, if I recall well) to create such foreign named entries only for functions etc that do not have an English language equivalent while having been referred to by that foreign language term in English language texts at least in several notable sources, e.g. 'Samurai'. I never noticed a 'huissier de justice' mentioned in a fluent text in English language. I might have missed it though, but else one should inspect how that French function is generally called in English texts - I assumed 'bailiff'.
The 'Bailiff' article should then describe that French function while mentioning the extra (or lacking) tasks; if for instance the article 'Notary public' would describe a task in the US that is handled by a 'huissier de justice' in France and/or Belgium etc, that article too should mention this and say that the function in "other countries such as France, Belgium..." or "countries with a law system based on the Napoleonic code" also includes (certain) tasks of a Bailiff.
That makes both articles named by an English language term of more value: As these are now, one must either assume that the French translation for Bailiff found in a dictionary is for identical tasks, or even assume that no bailiff tasks are being handled in other than mentioned countries - hence imply misleading information. And when properly mentioned in those articles, the 'Huissier de justice' article would fully overlap those. Perhaps I should change the banner to merge with two or more articles, but the "article" about the French term is far too incomplete to determine which others, and I am not specialized in Law.
Just go to the French language WP (also a very comprehensive encyclopedia) and try to find the term 'Bailiff' there... the English term does not have an article and I predict that it never will.
Please, disregard my appearing rude earlier here above when further evaluating this matter of a general importance on this here WP.▲ SomeHuman 2011-01-27 05:28-05:46 (UTC)
I figured it was an oversight, but it confused the heck out of me at first. As to the articles themselves, I'm afraid I just don't agree. If these people share functions with four different types of common law officials, it makes more sense to have one article discussion them than to discuss those functions at each of the four other articles without ever bringing the information together. It would make sense to mention and link to the HJ article from here, but it doesn't make sense to merge it here. Leaving the article as is allows freedom to expand it to discuss how the office differs from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and to compare its functions to officers in other countries. The article as it stands is not very good, but that just means it should be improved, not carved up and inserted into other articles. -Rrius (talk) 06:27, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
[I had been wondering about 'HPs' for a moment, you corrected it to 'HJs' but the American/English style of abbreviating is better not applied to French, a language in which such is rather uncommon.] I assume that the function in France is largely identical to the one in Belgium. The 'huissier de justice' aka 'deurwaarder' there is perhaps not fully identical to the 'deurwaarder' in the Netherlands. But even in that case, there can technically still be only one entry in the Dutch language WP that describes any differences - then it can also be done on the English language WP. By any other approach, this here WP would also need a 'Deurwaarder (the Netherlands)', a 'Deurwaarder (Belgium)', and articles about any such German?, Chech?, Indonesian?... etc. functions that undoubtedly do exist and are likely to be notably different to a 'huissier de justice' and to a 'bailiff' and to a 'notary public'. That approach would soon become absurd - that is why we need to reflect only the English language texts about the foreign subjects when creating separate articles. If the function in France would really be that specific, surely someone in the English language sphere must have noticed and described this. We would then find texts that would allow us to determine by what name we have to do it on this WP, be it a separate or [if necessary several] existing article[s]. Carving up takes a bit of work (which I do not intend to do) but less now than after waiting for a comprehensive 'Huissier de justice' article. It certainly beats waiting for information to become splattered over 300 articles about each country's similar but not quite overlapping function - or going through hundreds of discussions about for which countries the function should be incorporated best into which other's, including endless nationalistically motivated edit wars in chosing which country's function name is elected for each subject-grouping article. Let's start: "I'm Flemish and speak the language of the majority in my country, we must rename 'Huissier de justice' to 'Deurwaarder'. Never mind its Napoleonic code origin in French: Napoleon found his Waterloo with Wellington commanding seven English and three Dutch cavalry regiments - and what language is this WP? Right! And 'Deurwaarder' is... Right! For the Prussian effort we only grant a mere redirect from 'Vogt', they lost later on." [chuckle], [chuckle] ▲ SomeHuman 2011-01-27 07:00-08:17 (UTC)
I used the abbreviation because I knew spell it wrong, I'm sorry if it was distracting, though. I don't agree about needing an article per country. It would be sufficient to have one "Huissier de justice" article with sections for different countries that we had details for. Frankly, there is no one role huissier is matches well, if the article is to be believed. It appears that the only thing they do that overlaps with what bailiffs do is to take property from debtors to satisfy judgments. They serve process, which bailiffs don't do. They seem to have limited audience rights that lawyers would normally have in court. They also do some other things lawyers do like giving legal advice and drafting documents. They are not government employees. Then there are things like "exercise authorizations of a Court of Appeals, and act in insurance and property actions", which are exceedingly unclear, but sound nothing like anything a bailiff does. By the same token, if you compare them to sheriffs, lawyers, or notaries public, you'll find that huissiers de justice are more dissimilar to each than similar. Because there's nothing quite like a huissier de justice and there's no obvious translation, despite being a foreign term, it makes the most sense to have the article where it is.
The possibility of a fight over the name between Francophones and Flemish speakers seems remote, especially because the French term covers more ground, making a simple note of the Flemish word in a Belgium section make more sense. It wouldn't make sense to have an article at the Flemish word with each French country having a note that it actually uses the French word. I think we're find, but if something comes up, we can can always re-assess. -Rrius (talk) 08:38, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
I'm a bit worried about your "the French term covers more ground". Does it mean that the size of territory matters in naming an article? And about that "It wouldn't make sense to have an article at the Flemish word with each French country having a note that it actually uses the French word"... How many mainly French (I assume you mean -speaking) countries are there? Does Quebecq have a different to our topic related law than Canada, or Valais than Switzerland's German and Italian speaking parts? Apart from South-Africa that also has a related language, Dutch is spoken in three countries - each with own laws. I fail to see the relevance for electing a foreign term as name for a melting pot article about a topic as it occurs in non-Anglo Saxon law countries. I thought my Napoleon bit would have shown how ridiculous and dangerous this line of naming or of separating articles would become.
I did not actually suggest having 300 articles (and then 299 links under each article's 'See also' - aarrrgh). But your "no one role huissier is...", well, no role 'huissier' is matching all that a 'huissier de justice' does either. There are thousands of functions that are different between France or any other country and what is found in countries using one or more English language terms. The term 'metser' in Dutch is neither covered by a 'bricklayer' nor by a 'mason', and not only their tasks differ but also the relevant unions are entirely differently organized and the latter's influences on those tasks are very different; do we need yet another English language WP article 'Metser' then? If your assertion is correct, I repeat, it then must have been noticed and mentioned in English language texts and we need to reflect only the usage of a term in English language texts about the foreign subjects when creating separate articles. Perhaps that will justify the 'Huissier de justice' article, but it is on the creator or defender to show texts in English to evidence of that term being used. That is what makes this an English language WP. You are trying to invent an International language WP, I'm afraid.
I rather resent what may appear to be wiki-lawyering but for your information, perhaps do have a look into WP:CFORK and WP:NAME (with several links, such as Wikipedia:Naming_conventions_(use_English) that has a section No established usage), and into reasons (and alternatives) for WP:DEL, keeping in mind WP:OR about assuming great differences, and WP:N & WP:IRS when proving such differences to be sufficiently relevant. I'm not so much fighting the article name as the lack of valid demonstration that the article deserves to exist and to have that name, which makes that separating and naming too arbitrary. The 'Bailiff' article already has a section with country names that mentions "huissiers de justice", and that also is why I still advise for a merger. ▲ SomeHuman 2011-01-27 10:17-10:23 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I am having trouble understanding some of what you are saying, and I think you are failing to understand me as well. That's especially the case because you bring up wikilawyering, and I haven't really talked much about policy if at all.

Here's what it all boils down to: there is a thing called a huissier de justice that is unlike anything in the common law, or as you call it "Anglo Saxon", world. Whether you call it a "huissier de justice" or a "thingamabob", it is sufficiently different from what exists under a common law system that it deserves its own article.

Is "huissier de justice" just a French term for something that exists in every civil law country? I have no idea. If it is, then perhaps a more generic name can be found. If not, there really is no name in English for it, so the French name will have to suffice.

You ask me to find where it is talked about in English using the French word. That is exceedingly problematic because whatever name it's given, it isn't talked about much in English. More to the point, that really isn't the test. The general rule is that you use the English version unless the foreign one is used more often in English. What that requires is that there be an English version. As yet, it has not been shown that there is an English version.

I have tried to tell you that "bailiff" doesn't work as an English translation, but you've thrown back examples about doors and bricklayers. Let's be more concrete about it. Would the text of huissiers de justice fit as a subpart of this article? No, it doesn't really fit. Only one of the huissier de justice's several roles is the same as a bailiff's. Would it work as a subpart of lawyer? Again, no. Only some of what a huissier de justice does is similar to that of a lawyer, and that part seems to be ancillary. What about notary public? That also doesn't make sense. There are essentially two types of notary public: common law notaries who authenticate documents, and civil law notaries who are lawyers. Again, the overlap is minimal. It makes far more sense to leave the article separate and link to it from those other articles.

So, regardless of what name is appropriate, huissier de justice makes more sense as a standalone article. I admit that the article as written is confusing, but that would be the case if it were merged here anyway. It can and should be cleaned up and expanded. The fact that neither one of us is likely to be the one to do it doesn't mean we should prevent others from being able to do so. -Rrius (talk) 11:02, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

I might have formulated it better, but I brought up the wiki-lawyering before I, not you, started to refer to a series of WP rules that I thought could be useful in determining how to handle the problem.
I think you exaggerate the differences: To most people, the French and the Dutch terms simply mean "the only thing they do" "is to take property from debtors to satisfy judgments", what you admit to be overlapping with what bailiffs do. It is not my field of interest, but I think that "to satisfy judgments" and also their task as "process server" when ordered by Court, is what distincts them from ordinary 'huissiers', who can legally certifiably deliver a notice to someone (e.g. a debtor) with no more authority than the organization, enterprise or person that makes use of his/her service. People often inaccurately[?] just say 'huissier' when they describe taking away possessions; especially companies often let a 'huissier' send a letter to intimidate a debtor, as few ordinary people realize that his powers are nil or much more limited than when he acts according to a court verdict that allows a victorious plaintif to call upon the services of a bailiff to execute this verdict, as 'huissier de justice'. I do not know whether 'huissier' is just a short term for 'huissier de justice', or whether the former only becomes the latter while performing an appropriate task, or a 'huissier' needs a specific permanent acknowledgement entitling him/her to accept any tasks as 'hussier de justice' and then at which occasions he/she is allowed to show that longer title in a document.
One has to mention the process server task (e.g.: for a private person to invite someone to appear before mediation court [I assume a task as ordinary 'huissier'], or for court ordering an accused to show up at criminal court [definitely as 'huissier de justice'], or of course officially delivering a court's verdict).
Further differences with bailiffs, if any, would be much like creating a distinctive article named by the French word for a water boiler because of its bolts having metric instead of inch pitch:
  • I'm not so sure that it is useful to say that they are not government employees, because their justicial tasks are quite official: they then act with the authority of a government official, e.g. entitled to request police assistance against a dangerously reluctant debtor or to enforce access to the debtor's house to allow this bailiff making a list of, or to actually confiscate, the values.
  • Like a notary (or a police officer), a 'huissier [de justice]' aka '[gerechts]deurwaarder' can make official written statements, but this comes (mainly) to officializing the list of one's values found available or being confiscated.
  • A court may decide not to have listed values confiscated by the 'huissier de justice' provided payments via this bailiff (only for several creditors), thus preventing him/her from publically auctioning the possessions; this collector role constitutes his/her part in the "collective debt negotiation".
  • For juridical advise, one would not think about any 'huissier' aka 'deurwaarder' but typically go to a lawyer ('avocat' aka 'advokaat') or [mainly for real estate, wills and inheritance, matrimonial acts] a notary ('notaire', 'notaris'), or one gets a brochure at the courthouse, depending the matter at hand.
  • I do not know Belgian French language or law in France well enough but neither the Dutch language 'gerechtsdeurwaarder' that is a 'huissier de justice', nor the ordinary 'deurwaarder' aka 'huissier', has a function in the court room that I know off; hence is not a court usher — Door-keeper might have been an or the now obsolete meaning and is still in French called 'huissier' as well (but an entirely different person/function than the above described); this general function is now called 'deurwachter'/'zaalwachter'/'suppoost' in Dutch. The court secretary office is the 'greffe' (French) aka 'griffie' (Dutch), held by the 'greffier', 'griffier'. Only normal police officers guard the criminally accused.
I roughly described here what I think about the topic in Belgium, and just assume the French function to be similar, until someone shows me e.g. a French text explaining that in Belgium the everyman's term means something else than in France.
Did you read the article 'Bailiff'? For 'England and Wales' alone, it says: "There are six offices whose holders are commonly referred to as 'bailiffs'" and then decribes the different jobs. What makes the French job so different from each or all of those six? Still under 'Modern bailiffs', Belgium is mentioned (with the huissier de justice) but not France, which knows an at least very similar job. I think that the single reason why 'France' occurs under 'Medieval bailiffs' only is, because unlike for other countries its modern variant was put in a separate article.
I think you have only one or two kinds of bailiff in mind with which you had made the comparisons. The article however, describes a multitude of similar functions in many countries. And what would get into the 'Huissier de justice' article that is not already under 'Belgium'? I think the 'Huissier de justice' article needs to be under that subtitle renamed to 'Belgium and France', or (if there is a larger difference than I suspect) under an extra subtitle 'France' that also belongs under 'Modern bailiffs'.
Else, in how far do you want to expell bailiffs from the present article 'Bailiff'?▲ SomeHuman 2011-01-27 12:15-2011-01-28 04:14 (UTC)

Rrius had replied: "You ask me to find where it is talked about in English using the French word. That is exceedingly problematic because whatever name it's given, it isn't talked about much in English." I think Rrius would find it difficult to find texts in English about 'huissier[s] de justice' for an entirely different reason: Google returned 1 hit for literally "huissier de justice in Paris" in any text, and google shows the French term doublequoted but I could not retrieve this text; there are roughly 613 hits for literally "bailiff in Paris", and though I did not check each hit - the ones that I did read and did give a clue, appear to correspond to a 'huissier de justice' (such as "under the control of Eric Albou, Bailiff in Paris, France, ... sous le contrôle de Eric Albou, Huissier de Justice à Paris" on []). Hence one does not find the foreign language term for the function in France in an English text, simply because contrary to Rrius' assumption there is a commonly used English term for these French guys, whatever they might be doing differently from their English or American colleagues. It makes the merger into 'Bailiff' rather inevitable for respecting WP's naming conventions.▲ SomeHuman 2011-01-31 10:22 (UTC)

Umm, sorry, but you're missing a rather important logical step: you have failed to provide evidence that "bailiff" is commonly used in English to describe the officer. So far, all you've done is provide evidence for my point that the office isn't talked about much in English sources. Though, straight Google results are rather limited in what they'd return. Any discussion would more likely be in print than online. If granting, for the sake of argument, that the word "bailiff" is used to describe the French office, it does not follow that this article would be the right place to handle it as the name alone does not answer the problem that Huissier de justice have little in common with common law bailiffs. A more appropriate title under our hypothetical scenario would be Bailiff (civil law) or something of that nature. -Rrius (talk) 10:41, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
I repeat, the ones that I did read and that gave a clue, appeared to correspond to a 'huissier de justice'. Further samples: "rules deposited at the Office SCP Albou & Yana , Huissier de Justice (Bailiff) in Paris, 160 rue du Temple, 75003 Paris" on or –exemplifying my remark on what needs to be mentioned– "this excerpt: Huissier de Justice, i.e. a French process server or bailiff" on in a Spanish text quoting an English one.
The distinctions you want to impose on this article, 'common law' versus 'civil law' for instance, do not correspond to French or any Napoleonic code based law system. The article 'Bailiff' has to talk about all bailiffs as that word's general meaning in common usage in the English language. Your 'bailiff' - if it would need an article - needs to be in an article named 'Bailiff (Anglo-Saxon Law system)' or such because your demands exclude by your definition any other country to have a bailiff. The current article, to the contrary, does depict a multitude of bailiffs - as it should: I did prove that in English language also the specific French function is normally called 'bailiff' and that does determine by which article name it has to be found, according to WP naming conventions. Please do read my comment of 2011-01-27 12:15-2011-01-28 04:14 and refrain from seeking far-fetched distinctions: even bailiffs in Britain alone do not correspond to your definition because there are several kinds of very different bailiffs there - do read the article into which I wish to merge the French term.▲ SomeHuman 2011-01-31 11:26 (UTC)
You obviously don't know what "common law" and "civil law" mean. "Civil law" means Napoleonic-Code-based legal systems, and common law systems are those based upon the English legal system. I have read this article, and all forms of bailiff, aside from the huissier its cousins, do basically the same things: serve process and repossess property from judgment debtors. If you read huissier de justice, you'll see the powers and duties are far more expansive. What is here about the huissier and similar officers should be more or less removed with a brief comment that the functions of a bailiffs are included in those of huissiers de justice and gert-thingies (I'm not even going to try to get the Flemish correct). Since you are giving out unsolicited advice, I'll give some of my own: As things stand, there is a proposal which was opposed when you made it and is opposed by another editor now; no editor has supported you. There is no consensus for what you are trying to do, so your time would probably be better spent working on something else. -Rrius (talk) 11:59, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
Your exclamation about what I "obviously don't know" was in line with your own earlier statement, saying "There are essentially two types of notary public: common law notaries who authenticate documents, and civil law notaries who are lawyers." Contrary to that, for the Napoleonic law system, the so-called 'code civil' (civil law), there are only notaries that authenticate documents who also draw up documents for certain matters that I mentioned earlier; there are none that are considered 'lawyers' [though that term is just as ambivalent as 'bailiff' and its article demonstrates my case here]. I had then to understand that you knew of a from 'common law' to be distincted 'civil law' within the to me less known Anglo Saxon law system. Law systems do have a tendency to have separate law books for e.g. civil matters, criminal matters, tax matters etc.
You may well have said it right: "all forms of bailiff, aside from the huissier its cousins, do basically the same things: serve process and repossess property from judgment debtors": I do not know the professions of the cousins you had in mind, but what you describe is exactly what a 'huissier de justice' is mostly known for.
I find it simply stupidifying to read that you consider the 'huissier de justice' (whom I explained in my 2011-01-27 12:15-2011-01-28 04:14 comment not to be all that much involved with some of the more exotic sounding aspects summed-up in the stub article 'Huissier de justice') to be so terribly different from what you consider to be a 'Bailiff' fit for the article by that name, that the French guy has to be excluded, while this 'Bailiff' article goes as far astray as to state, for instance - I quote: "Water bailiffs also exist in England and Wales to police bodies of water and prevent illegal fishing. They are generally employees of the Environment Agency. Jury bailiffs are court ushers who monitor juries during their deliberations and during overnight stays."
And your last sentences telling me to f-* off, may only end my further discussion with you. Not the merger.▲ SomeHuman 2011-02-01 19:09-20:51 (UTC)
The first part of your commentary is a muddle, so the best I can say to respond to it is that weird kinds of bailiff if the UK have a historical connection to the regular kind, making it material here. That does not justify making this article the home for a completely different legal official from a completely different legal tradition which happens to share one of its duties with bailiffs. The second part of your commentary is pointless. So far, only two editors have felt the need to weigh in (including in the three months the proposal was open and noted on the homepage), and both have opposed you. If you want to keep talking about this without me, you will presumably be talking to yourself. I say you should just let it go because despite what amounts to two attempts in nine months to merge the articles, consensus has not crystalized in favour of such an action. I'm not quite sure why you don't seem able to recognize that. -Rrius (talk) 00:17, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
That "first part" of my latest comment contains not my but your "muddle", quoted after your accusation of my ignorance to demonstrate your misconception: just as your comment here above, it indicates that you don't have the foggiest about the reality of Napoleonic law functions but consider those as if from Mars and therefore never to belong amongst functions that occur in English-speaking countries - even while a term describes far more dissimilar functions within the latter countries.
Your here above "completely different legal tradition which happens to share one of its duties with bailiffs" again unduly separates anything from outside your world. Nothing you have written so far, indicates that you might have read my 2011-01-27 12:15-2011-01-28 04:14 comment - at the contrary, despite my urging you to that respect twice - that mentions (apart from the main meaning) a historical and traditional meaning of 'huissier' that happens to coincide with such for 'bailiff', being one of those that you described: "weird kinds of bailiff if[sic] the UK have a historical connection to the regular kind", though in countries where French is spoken and only there also named 'huissier'. France and England did share some thoughts during history and Napoleon was not such a weirdo as to cast everything overboard, neither did the Americans.
The "second part" of my latest comment shows very clearly that by your own main standard for a bailiff, which I quoted, the 'huissier de justice' does precisely what makes a bailiff. Of course you call that "pointless" just as anything I say that unarguably shows my point "is a muddle" or gets simply but totally ignored: After your failure to show a 'huissier de justice' in even just one English text, you rather forgot the several quotes I showed with the term 'bailiff' clearly being used for the 'huissier de justice'. For that attitude there is an old saying in Dutch: 'Wat baten kaars en bril als de uil niet zien wil' (What's the use of candle and eye-glasses, if the owl does not want to see) - and a quote from another article: "skilled demagogues often need to use only special emphasis by which an uncritical listener will be led to draw the desired conclusion themselves. Moreover, a demagogue may well believe his or her own arguments".
WP's suggestions about mergers, allow committing the merger after about one week without reaction. The first time I had proposed it, I had left the proposal for several weeks before there came one reaction, an opposition, and I had left it as such with both argumentations - as no consensus was clear and there was no urgence. You admitted not even to have read the argumentations when you threw the merger banners out. And after three years, upon my renewed proposal for the merger with my identical though also more in-depth argumentation, you alone opposed by especially emphasizing a single counter-argument (identical to that 2007 opposer's) you based solely on what was put without any references in the questionable (de facto stub) article 'huisier de justice'; a such 'consensus' is a bit meagre for sending me into the marshes. As the consensus does not appear to be forthcoming here, and the merger unexpectedly appeared controversial, I added it on the then appropriate 'WP:PM' - I think we should better leave it at that, for now.​▲ SomeHuman 2011-02-02 04:22-05:35 (UTC)
SUPPORT - The concepts appear to be so similar, that they can much more usefully be treated under a single article. In particular, the differences can be more cogently and concisely discussed on one page. Lawdroid (talk) 17:46, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
Consensus having become clear (the more since the 2007 editor Lanyon has not been editing this WP in years, apart from 1 minor thing on his lastly edited article), was not accepted by Rrius: Beyond the adapted lead, he plastered an extremely bad translation, extremely unintelligible (far below his own capabilities for English prose, proven in the above discussion), and with numerous dead links, obviously by a quick robot translation from the French language Wikipedia (and then auto-replacing the auto-translation assumedly "bailiff" with "huissier de jusitce"[sic]) into the 'Huissier de justice' - thereby making a merger near impossible in case other editors would have started working at some of the so terribly obvious mistakes and shortcomings. I see this as WP:disruptive editing, as in three days no attempt was made to attain a minimal standard. The merger will go on soon.
There is now information available that gives even more reasons than the ones already discussed:
The French language Wikipedia redirects huissier to huissier de justice, and apart from the latter, it has only one entry for some kind of 'huissier': Huissier à la chaîne (a stub) - though on the English language WP we can find terms as exotic as huissier audiencier or huissiers de chambre et de cour. Apparently, whenever certain native speakers of French do not immediately know the English term for what they describe about their culture, they don't bother to look it up and rather cause us to spend the time for cleaning up their mess. But we find also proper ways to mention a function, e.g.: "bailiff (huissier d'armes)", "premier huissier ('first usher')", "huissiers or ushers", and of course "huissier de justice (bailiff)".
The aforementioned French article 'Huissier de justice' refers to the Union internationale des huissiers de justice, which has the good English language option International Union of Judicial Officers that also refers to these as 'Officers of Court', never as 'huissiers de justice' - then why should we? It mentions France and the other countries that created the organization in 1952. These are then to be mentioned for the Napoleonic code based function, which is definitely not called 'huissier de justice' in Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and substantial regions of Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland. Therefore the function must be described on this here WP in an article by another name - and it will not be the Greek one. If the term 'huissier de justice' would occur in that article, then also the Greek, the Italian, the Dutch, and the German terms need to be in there. I suggest readers knowing the term in French or one of the other languages, must simply and obviously consult a translation dictionary to English, which always prominently shows 'bailiff'. This strategy only, will make them all meet at one place, allowing them to see what is already available and take it up from there.
In the baulk to the left of the French WP article, among other languages, one finds English - which links to our Bailiff. I assume that settles it, even the French don't assume their language word by word being described on this here WP and did not look for it (or recognized the hardly readable article as bullsh*t).
On this here WP, any links towards 'huisssier de justice' or 'huissier' need to arrive at 'Bailiff', or to be re-linked towards Judicial officer, Court usher or Gentleman Usher where more appropriate. In a few of these cases now showing the French term, it might be best to actually show the proper English term. A section with interesting samples is this Court Officers and Staff, including premier huissier - constable, huissier - marshal. That shows the French names for the functions in France in pre-Napoleonic times, many of which exported via the Napoleonic code and still surviving (though not everywhere by French names).
▲ SomeHuman 2011-02-18 11:56-20:40 (UTC)
Without having ploughed through the above and with all due reserve for valid comments I would like to remark that I personally prefer the use of "Huissier de Justice" or "Huissier" in English to bailiff or any other alternative. I have been a professional translator for over 30 years and I am also a sworn translator before the Court of First Instance at Antwerp. It is important to remember that the Huissier is one of the legal professions, the potential Huissier must, after obtaining a law degree or an equivalent, take the stiff professional examinations. Because of the "French" connotations of the word huissier, there is a fairly strong current of opinion among Flemish huissiers that prefers the option of an English equivalent. In this context the only possible option (for an English law context) must be Judicial Officer or Court Officer. In fact Court Officer is the alternative proposed a view years by the Chairman of the Flemish Associations of Gerechtsdeurwaarders. Everybody got to be somewhere! (talk) 18:20, 26 February 2011 (UTC)
Wikipedia must not launch new terms (or give existing ones a new meaning), it describes topics by terms that pre-exist in English-language usage, and then by the in English most commonly used term for the topic. When a topic cannot be defined by a single word or a coined term, the article about it may obtain a name such as 'Bailiff (France)' or 'Bailiff (officer)'. There is no objection agains having such an article specifically about the functions of a huissier de justice, provided the description of what is for an encyclopedia notewhorthily different from what one understands by a bailiff, is too substantial to be incorporated in the article 'Bailiff'. As for now, this is not the case, and there are many kinds of bailiffs (not having an article each), some of which come closer to a huissier de justice than to other bailiffs mentioned in this article. Therefore, until a more appropriate term becomes mostly used in English language, we'll have a (sub) section in 'Bailiff'.
One problem with 'Court officer' is, that it strongly suggests being an officer who fulfills his duties at the court, whereas this is not the normal place to find a huissier de justice. To me, it is a misleading title. At first sight, 'Judicial Officer' would thus be preferred, but then there are Judicial officers of the Republic of Singapore - in short, judges. Both English language terms promoted by (internationally united or Flemish) huissiers de justice are obviously very vague, not suggesting anything about the duties envolved.
[For your not needing to plough through all the above, three considerations in short]
The main thing
Regardless the name, the required diploma, the side-functions, the procedures, the one thing mainly associated with a bailiff (one of the more usual modern kinds) is, to legally get a debtor's possessions available for sale in order to financially fulfill the debtor's obligations. And a gerechtsdeurwaarder aka huissier de justice is just as well known precisely for that. That is what makes these also bailiffs, in English language - and I would not call the usual translation inaccurate: no translation is fully accurate. Compare: 'King' in Thai language does not mean a title for the King of Thailand, and the latter has some other functions and far more (obligatory) respect than the King of Belgium, the latter not necessarily having the identical functions as a King of England may get, and none of those are like Louis XIV of France was. But all of these had/have/will have functions that would allow their description under a general article named 'King'. And I guess there might be an article about 'Kings of France' (as well as about 'Louis XIV of France'), as there is apparently enough to fill such articles. The proper name for an extra article then depends on what exactly it describes. In our case, as a personal name is not relevant, it is most likely to start with 'Bailiff', e.g. 'Bailiff (civil law)'; if the Anglo Saxon version would ever get a proper description, it too would finally get a proper article, e.g. 'Bailiff (common law)'. Or, the article with the very broad descriptions (including for 'huissier de justice') now found by 'Bailiff', might be moved to a more appropriate denominator. I just don't see one as appropriate as one found for 'King' (it's 'Monarch' - follow the above link and see how the redirect mentions also a shah, emperor, etc).
Please do note: shah does occur in fluent texts in English language, as a today's English word that you can expect to find in an English language encyclopedia; huissier de justice, gerechtsdeurwaarder and their German, Greek, etc. equivalents, do not, and therefore you should not expect to find those entries in this here Wikipedia.
Modern bailiffs in Belgium, in the Netherlands
Section 'Modern bailiffs' has a sub section 'Belgium' mentioning the Dutch and French language terms, that ends with "tasks as independent entrepreneurs, for instance for [...] judicial assistance at lower courts (canton level), etc". Did the gerechtsdeurwaarder aka huissier de justice in Belgium (a country since 1830) ever play a such role? In the Netherlands, a deurwaarder stopped to have a (this?) function that originated as deurvrijwaarder (a door man keeping order) very recently, in 2001 (until then only in lower courts). The article 'Gerechtsdeurwaarder' on the Dutch-language Wikipedia mentions a further task as an officer: supervise [in Dutch: toezicht houden bij] public auctions. In Belgium this is a notary's job, as far as I know. That last sentence of sub section 'Belgium' includes behind 'for instance', also writing general conditions of sale. This appears to me as a Belgian lawyer's job instead. Is it perhaps also [and still] a deurwaarder's job in the Netherlands? It seems that a 'Bailiff (civil law)' by whatever article name would still require distinctions as noteworthy as for the current 'Bailiff' that mentions the huissier de justice/gerechtsdeurwaarder.
Notaries in Belgium handle sales of immovables (but not ships). The presence of a huissier is required at all other auctions including ships. Huissiers also officiate at lotteries and record attempts.

Some years ago the professional body that acts for Huissiers in Belgium advised members not to describe themselves as Bailiffs. It suggested using "Court Officer". Speaking as a sworn translator working in Belgium, and one who regularly works with Huissiers, I prefer to use the term Huissier de Justice (glossed as Court Officer - Process Server at its first occurrence). Everybody got to be somewhere! (talk) 18:51, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

The US oriented article 'Subpoena' states:
"[...] court rules may permit lawyers to issue subpoenas themselves in their capacity as officers of the court." Apart from his role as bailiff that I mentioned under 'The main thing' here above, the two other wellknown judicial functions of a huissier de justice/gerechtsdeurwaarder, in a capacity as officer notifying someone to appear or to be lawfully represented in court, and officially noting an observation (of e.g. someone [not] being at a place, a lottery result) is similar to this role for a lawyer, who otherwise has a self-employed profession. In other countries, a lawyer may not have any function as an officer. And still, both kinds remain lawyers and should be described in an article 'Lawyer'. This is how I see it for 'Bailiff'.
▲ SomeHuman 2011-03-05 11:38-17:17 (UTC)
I'm not going to bother even reading most of what you wrote, but the part about Subpoena shows how little you know about this. When it says that some courts allow lawyers to issue subpoenas in their capacity as an officer of the court, all it means is that the lawyer is able to issue the subpoena without getting the court clerk to sign it first. A subpoena compels the attendance of a witness under penalty of law. Allowing lawyers to issue subpoenas means their signature gives it the force of law necessary to give rise to the penalty. None of it has anything to do with service of the subpoena. In general, subpoenas are not considered process in the same way as a summons and can be served by hand delivering a copy to the intended recipient or by certified mail without involvement of the sheriff or any other sort of process server.
I will note again that of the three people who have weighed in on this, only you support the merger proposal, despite the fact that it has been on this talk page for a very long time. It is time you admit that you don't have consensus and move on. -Rrius (talk) 22:29, 5 March 2011 (UTC)
Once again, Rrius doesn't want to get it. A lawyer has a self-employed profession, but only in some jurisdictions acts as an officer for delivery of legal documents [handed by/to whomever], and there without some new term instead of 'lawyer'; exactly as a bailiff, then also not needing a (non-English) term as 'huissier de justice' or 'gerechtsdeurwaarder'.
The derogatory "I'm not going to bother even reading" is only Rius' (like further above demonstrated) demagogic escape from his incapability of presenting a proper counter-argument to my arguments, at the same time suggesting other readers not to bother to read those. I feel confident that Rrius did bother - or does anyone believe that he started reading at the last paragraph of my latest comment while responding to the comment above mine? By drawing undue attention to a last paragraph in his comment underneath it, the demagogue suggests others to read that first and then one does not always go up again. He's good at it, but clearly dishonest. He even tells blatant lies:
The merger had been opposed (after a reasonable time that already had allowed to merge) in a short comment by one editor who later stopped to contribute at WP, since more than a year now. The merger proposal banners had been removed by Rrius (without valid reason and without informing the proposer). Upon my finding out years later, I made a new proposal. Meanwhile, only Rrius and just now one more editor oppose, the latter admittedly not having read the arguments (not surprisingly with such a lengthy discussion) and openly for serving an interest outside the scope of Wikipedia that I explained to be dead against its policy. The merger also got support by another editor who managed to clearly present a new valid argument in his two sentences. Is Rrius going to pretend not to have seen that most visible 'SUPPORT' when he wrote "only you support"? I already had reprimanded Rrius for his undue and by Wikipedia guidelines clearly discouraged attempts to send someone away.​▲ SomeHuman 2011-03-06 07:14 (UTC)
My patience and available effort for Wikipedia having been compromised more than acceptably, I reported User:Rrius for WP:Disruptive editing at the Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents.​▲ SomeHuman 2011-03-06 08:39 (UTC)
And as the discussion there shows, the referral was groundless. -Rrius (talk) 03:05, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

US Examples[edit]

Although many Americans would colloquially refer to uniformed officers in a courtroom as bailiffs, the vast majority of them are sheriffs, marshals, or court officers. In fact, they are generally not referred to as "bailiffs" by judges, lawyers, and other court personnel. Much of the verbiage in the section does not explain what bailiffs do in the US; rather, it lists what non-bailiffs in various states do. For that reason, I have modified the section to clarify American usage of the term "bailiff" and to describe what bailiffs, whether called that or not, do. In addition, I have removed the references to the specific state examples, which were not useful. -Rrius (talk) 08:49, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

Obviously you dont work in a court. The proper term for any lawman working in a superior court is Bailiff. And s/he is refered to in that way in the formal setting os a court in session. I.E. "Bailiff, the defendant is remanded to your custody."

How do I know, I am one. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:35, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

Wrong, and I'm a lawyer who's worked in courtrooms in Illinois and Ohio, and witnessed federal courts operate. In none of those places, and indeed in most US jurisdictions, the people responsible for court security are not called bailiffs. In fact, Ohio's bailiffs exist in courtrooms but play a different role. -Rrius (talk) 21:16, 26 January 2011 (UTC)


from Late Latin baiulivus, adjectival form of baiulus

And what is baiulus then? "Bail"? that should be explained clearly.-- (talk) 01:48, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

My solution does not show a comprehensive answer, but at least it does not allow assuming 'bail' and it clearly refers to a person by some function. The article 'Bailiff' should handle its own aspects, regardless of the etymological origin as baiulus. I'll link this term in the lead to Wiktionary (exactly like you see it done in my former sentence here, not that box at the right), in accordance with Wikimedia_sister projects. Of course, one might have a section titled 'Roman bailiffs' describing the baiulus, above the section 'Medieval bailiffs' - though then it would be best to start the article with the content of 'Modern bailiffs' and let both aforementioned sections be subsections of a section 'History'​▲ SomeHuman 2011-02-09 15:48-16:18 (UTC)

Split: medial bailiff and modern bailiff[edit]

This article is about two different meanings of the term bailiff which are almost entirely unrelated. For this reason, I think that the article should be split into two articles, accessible from a disambiguation page. -- (talk) 13:56, 5 September 2011 (UTC)

Specifically, the medieval senses should be addressed tersely and mostly dealt with at reeve, steward, bailiff (France), bailiff (knightly orders), &c. Most of this page should deal with the generic modern offices in the UK and US. — LlywelynII 06:19, 6 January 2016 (UTC)

File:Ontario Sol-Gen Correctional Services Bailiff.jpg Nominated for speedy Deletion[edit]


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Merge from Court bailiff (Poland)[edit]

As the article is written, I am not seeing what makes this concept notable. It could be merged to the list of baliffs in different countries present here, I guess. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 10:30, 24 June 2013 (UTC)

It needs to be merged. Ajh1492 (talk) 08:19, 25 October 2013 (UTC)

  • Fully agree with merge. -- P 1 9 9   16:37, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
    • I have merged it. The text could benefit from some copy editing from someone who understands it. W. P. Uzer (talk) 07:05, 4 April 2014 (UTC)

Some images, for god's sake!!![edit]

Can we put some color on this page! I found a funny old picture. It would, for instance, give some context on what social purpose bailiffs served, mingling with the ladies of the town and such.

Dudanotak (talk) 00:12, 16 April 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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