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1. (in the US) the chief law-enforcement officer in a county: popularly elected, except in Rhode Island
2. (in England and Wales) the chief executive officer of the Crown in a county, having chiefly ceremonial duties
3. (in Scotland) a judge in any of the sheriff courts
4. (in Australia) an administrative officer of the Supreme Court, who enforces judgments and the execution of writs, empanels juries, etc.
5. (in New Zealand) an officer of the High Court



(Russian, sudebnyi ispolnitel’), the official responsible for the compulsory execution of court decisions, rulings, and decrees in civil cases and also for the execution of court settlements, sentences, rulings, and decrees in criminal cases to the extent that they involve property exactions.

In the USSR, sheriffs also execute the decisions of arbiters, comrades’ courts, commissions on labor disputes, and other such bodies. They are appointed by the ministers of justice of autonomous republics and the heads of judicial departments of executive committees of krai, oblast, and city soviets of people’s deputies. The requirements imposed by sheriffs for the execution of court decisions are binding on all state institutions, enterprises, kolkhozes, other cooperative and public organizations, officials, and citizens throughout the USSR.



an executive officer in a county (or sometimes another administrative-territorial unit) in Great Britain, Ireland, and the USA.

The legal status of sheriffs in Great Britain is defined by the norms of common law, by parliamentary statutes (since the 14th century), and, in particular, by the Sheriffs Act of 1877. A sheriff is appointed by a special commission that acts under royal authority and is headed by the lord lieutenant of the county. Sheriffs are chosen from among the landowners of the counties. Poor people, lords, priests, officers in active service, and practicing barristers and solicitors are among those who are not eligible for the office. Sheriffs are invested with administrative and judicial powers, such as the execution of sentences, the holding of elections, the selection of juries, and the supervision of jails.

In the USA, in all states except Rhode Island, a sheriff is elected by the residents of the county. His jurisdiction extends only to rural areas, and he fulfills mainly administrative and police functions. He maintains law and order, supervises jails, makes arrests, and checks the observance of state laws regulating such activities as traffic and the sale of alcohol.

References in periodicals archive ?
No such nonsense these days in Mid Glamorgan as High Sheriffs serve the Queen above all, performing their work under the warm authority of the Queen's representative, the Lord Lieutenant, Katrin Thomas of Nelson.
Tina Costello, Heart Of England Community Foundation director, said: "It was a lovely occasion and we are delighted that the event, along with Clare and Adrian's fantastic running exploits, helped raised so much money for the High Sheriff 's Fund.
ACCOLADE: The High Sheriff of Merseyside, Ian Meadows, with his partner, Lizzie Scott, present the ECHO's Peter Elson with a 'Hidden Gems of Merseyside' certificate for the Daniel Adamson project
He was nominated for the High Sheriff honour by Lord Mayor of Birmingham Mike Leddy.
Virginia said: "I am delighted and honoured to have been appointed as High Sheriff of West Yorkshire.
The High Sheriff is also the returning officer for parliamentary elections in county constituencies.
Golding will take the ceremonial office of Bristol's High Sheriff in March 2010.
Lucy is only the eighth female High Sheriff of Northumberland since 1079, the first having been appointed in 1994.
Mrs Thompson said: "The High Sheriff of Tyne & Wear Awards is a chance to recognise the work of children and young people in our community who are doing great things.
Huw Evans, Coutts & Co - Barnardo's accountants, Kay Sinclair, director of Sinclair Group, Yvonne Rogers, director of Barnardo's and Liz Singer, High Sheriff of Mid Glamorgan
He walked to Birmingham with a sack of tools on his back from Tenbury Wells and that is why the High Sheriff of Worcester, who comes from Tenbury Wells, is attending.
A FORMER High Sheriff paid tribute to the 'innovation and enterprise' of scientists at a leading technology centre.