Bailiff (Fr. bailli, Lat. balivus), a person to whom some authority or charge is committed. The term as used by the Normans designated the chief magistrates of counties or shires, and bailiwick is still retained in writs and other judicial proceedings as defining the extent of jurisdiction within which the process may be executed, usually the same as county. It came into general use as a designation of any judicial or ministerial oilicc performed by a deputy of a local magistrate; but as the judicial functions of sheriffs and lords having private jurisdiction declined, bailiffs were known as the ministerial deputies of sheriffs. A bound bailiff (vulgarized into bum-bailiff) is a sheriff's officer who has given sureties to the sheriff for his official .conduct. The term bailiff was also applied in England to magistrates of certain towns, keepers of castles, etc, and is still used to some extent in one or other of these senses, but more commonly expresses a steward or agent of a lord or other large land proprietor. In the United States it is sometimes, but rarely, used for a sheriff's deputy or constable, and is occasionally met with as a legal designation of an agent liable to account for the rents or profits of property intrusted to him.
In Scotch law a synonymous term, bailie, is applied to a ministerial officer to whom writs are directed. It is also used to designate a city magistrate similar to an alderman in England.