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The Sheriff's Office Victoria

The Sheriff's Office Victoria is a uniformed force within Enforcement Management which is a section of the Department of Justice Victoria.

Functions of the Sheriff's Office

Sheriff's Operations is responsible for executing both Federal and State court orders in the civil and criminal jurisdictions within Victoria.

The Sheriff of Victoria is an officer of the Supreme Court and is responsible for execution of warrants and taking action against those individuals and companies who/which do not comply with court orders. A court issues a warrant to the Sheriff, who directs his/her officers to execute the warrant.

Sheriff's Office - Victoria
Sheriff's Officers are appointed as bailiffs under the Supreme Court Act. They are empowered to enforce a range of sanctions in the execution of warrants, including the seizure and sale of personal assets, the initiation of community based work orders (CBO'S) , the suspension of driver's licence and the power of arrest.

Prior to April 1984, the responsibilities of the Sheriff for the enforcement of warrants was limited to civil matters issued in the Supreme, County and Magistrates Courts.

In 1989 and 1990 responsibility for all criminal warrants for non payment of fines was transferred from the Victoria Police to the Sheriff. This includes warrants for failure to pay infringement notices for 'on the spot fines' which have been registered with the Sheriff by the PERIN Court (see below) as well as warrants for failure to pay fines imposed by a Magistrate following an court appearance.

Sheriff's Operations with its staff of over 100 Officers is responsible for the execution of a range of court orders in the civil and criminal jurisdictions within Victoria. The Victorian Office was the first in Australia to be developed in this way - a significant change in law enforcement procedure and the traditional role of the Sheriff.

Warrent Stage

Civil

All courts issue civil warrants for the enforcement of civil judgements which are usually for debts owed by the debtor. Sheriff's Operations executes those warrants on behalf of the plaintiff to enforce judgement against a debtor where the money due under a judgement has not been paid.

Sheriff's Officers call at the address on the warrant and, on locating the debtor make a demand for payment. If the payment is not tendered they have the authority to seize and remove assets belonging to the debtor for sale at public auction to recover the outstanding monies. These assets may include personal property such as furniture, cars, and boats and in some cases, the debtor's interest in real estate.

Criminal

Sheriff's Officers execute criminal warrants issued by the PERIN Court as well as Open Court. By far the majority of criminal warrants executed are those issued by the PERIN Court. To execute these as prescribed in legislation, an Officer calls at the address of the defendant named on the warrant to demand payment and, if payment is not tendered, depending upon the warrant type and the legislated requirements, the Officer employs sanctions to execute that warrant. Those sanctions may include:

  • Seizure and sale of assets belonging to the defendant
  • Suspension of drivers licence
  • Community work options
  • Arrest and lodgement for default time (after court appearance if legislated)
PERIN court

The PERIN Court (Penalty Enforcement by Registration of Infringement Notice) is a venue of the Magistrate's Court of Victoria and was first established in 1986. It is primarily based on administrative processing rather than appearances before a Magistrate in open court.

The role of the PERIN Court is to resolve large numbers of unpaid infringement notices in a way that both reduces the load placed upon the judicial and administrative resources of the open courts and still allows an individual the right to appear before a Magistrate if they wish to.

PERIN Court deals with offences that generally have fixed penalties and would usually be uncontested if heard in Open Court such as parking offences, traffic offences, etc.



The content on this page has been kindly provided by the Victorian Sheriffs Office, no reproduction allowed

 
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