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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 ?
AWELL-KNOWN figure in the North East business world has taken on the ceremonial role of High Sheriff of Tyne and Wear.
What does a High Sheriff do and on whose instruction?
George Scott, High Sheriff of Tyne and Wear, met pupils and teachers at Christ Church C of E Primary in North Shields.
Six schools will be presented with certificates by Keith Sach, the High Sheriff Of Warwickshire, next Thursday, to recognise the positive contribution they have made to reduce crime or improve community safety.
In recent years, however, many High Sheriffs have been particularly active in the development of an anti-crime culture particularly among young people.
High Sheriff of Merseyside Judith Greensmith, right, chats to head girls Steph Baxter and Ursula Moore Picture: JASON ROBERTS/ jr100408sherrif-1
A NEW High Sheriff of South Glamorgan has been inaugurated.
Both Pilkington and Fulton were also former high sheriffs, an annual shift made less attractive, despite the wearing of ceremonial breeches and gaiters, by having to raid your own wallet to the tune of pounds 25,000 to provide din-dins for judges.
The Queen then used a silver bodkin to "prick" his name which was on a list written on parchment of all new high sheriffs for England and Wales.
ONE of Birmingham's best-known businessmen is the next in line to take on the grand title of High Sheriff for West Midlands.
Now High Sheriffs no longer collect money for the monarch but their annual attendance at court has continued and is used to mark the annual nomination of the new sheriffs.
When she was first appointed she attended a training day at Burleigh House in Leicestershire where she says most of her fellow High Sheriffs from across the border clearly came from privileged backgrounds.