A court official, usually a deputy sheriff, who keeps order in the courtroom and handles various errands for the judge and clerk. In some jurisdictions, a person appointed by the court to handle the affairs of an incompetent person or to be a “keeper” of goods or money pending further order of the court. “Bailiff” has its origin in Old French and Middle English for custodian, and in the Middle Ages it was a significant position in the English court system. The word “bailiwick” originally meant the jurisdictional territory of a bailiff.
In the modern courtroom attorneys make it their business to be friendly with the bailiff because of the influence the bailiff has over the general tenor of the courtroom.« Back to Glossary Index