Bailiff (law)
(855 words)

A bailiff (German: Gerichtsvollzieher) in his capacity as a court official is responsible for  enforcing the decisions and writs of execution of a court of law. The existence of the office depends on two fundamental decisions of the legal order. On the one hand, the office of the bailiff is an expression of the state’s monopoly on violence. Private individuals, in particular the victorious party in litigation, may not enforce their rights personally; only the state power - personified by the bailiff, among other offici…

Cite this page
Oestmann, Peter, “Bailiff (law)”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Executive editor of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy. Consulted online on 24 March 2018 <>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160321

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