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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 ?
I have passed this way before, as Mid Glamorgan's High Sheriff of 1998-99.
High Sheriff George Scott, right, and his wife Sue with Father Tim Duff, from Christ Church.
It is a charity funded by the High Sheriff Of Warwickshire and the private sector, including The Sheldon Trust and managed by private company Positive About Young People.
Golding said: "All High Sheriffs are concerned with young people and encouraging them to fulfil their potential.
A HEALTH chief has been installed as the High Sheriff for Merseyside, during a ceremony at her former school in Wirral.
I can reveal that other contenders, spoken of as Downing Street minions sounded out local worthies, were Kirsty Pilkington, trustee of the St Helens glass giant' Will Fulton, accountant and chairman of the Liverpool Cathedral executive, and Rosemary Hawley, last year's High Sheriff, a job now done by Michael Potts, another accountant, and descended from a line of clockmakers.
Tim Watts is to be the next holder of the ancient office of High Sheriff
Originally the High Sheriffs office held many of the powers now vested in Lord Lieutenants, High Court judges, magistrates, local authorities, coroners and even the Inland Revenue.
Geoff and other High Sheriffs across the country will take up office next March in another ancient ceremony taking place at the Privy Council in London.
Over the last 20 years the Welsh High Sheriffs have tried to work together to be more egalitarian and there was a lady High Sheriff in Mid Glamorgan 20 years ago.
The artist, Vaughan Davies, is vice chairman and trustee of the Merseyside Police and High Sheriffs Charitable Trust.
The programme for those just leaving secondary education is funded by the Association of High Sheriffs, with no cost to schools.