Sheriffs Act 1887

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1887 c. 55

Sheriffs Act, 1887

(50 & 51 Vict.) CHAPTER 55.

An Act to consolidate the Law relating to the office of Sheriff in England, and to repeal certain enactments relating to Sheriffs which have ceased to be in force or have become unnecessary.

[16th September 1887]

B E it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:



S-1 Short title.

1 Short title.

1. This Act may be cited as theSheriffs Act, 1887.

S-2 Extent of Act.

2 Extent of Act.

2. This Act shall not extend to Scotland or Ireland.

Appointment and Qualification.

Appointment and Qualification.

S-3 Annual appointment of sheriff and duration of office.

3 Annual appointment of sheriff and duration of office.

(1)3. (1.) A sheriff shall be annually appointed for every county.

(2) (2.) Save as provided by this Act, a sheriff shall not hold office for more than one year, and a grant after the passing of this Act of the office for more than one year shall be void.

(3) (3.) The office of sheriff or of any officer of a sheriff shall not become void by reason of the demise of the Crown, or in Cornwall of the Duchy of Cornwall, but the person holding the office shall, unless sooner removed or superseded, continue in office for the remainder of his term, in like manner as if such demise had not taken place.

S-4 Qualification of sheriffs.

4 Qualification of sheriffs.

4. A person shall not be appointed sheriff nor bailiff of a franchise except he have sufficient land within his county or bailiwick to answer the Queen and her people.

S-5 Same person not to be chosen twice in three years.

5 Same person not to be chosen twice in three years.

5. A person who has been sheriff of a county for a whole year shall not within three years next ensuing be appointed sheriff of that county unless there is no other person in the county qualified to fill the office.

S-6 Nomination and appointment of sheriffs.

6 Nomination and appointment of sheriffs.

(1)6. (1.) On the twelfth day of November in every year (or if that day fall on a Sunday then on the ensuing Monday) persons fit to serve as sheriffs shall be nominated for every county at the Royal Courts of Justice in the manner that has been heretofore used and observed, and shall be so nominated by the following great officers, namely, the Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, the Lord High Treasurer, or if there is no Lord High Treasurer, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Lord President and others of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, and the Lord Chief Justice of England, or any two or more of such great officers, taking to them the judges of Her Majesty's High Court of Justice, or any two or more of them.

(2) (2.) Whenever Her Majesty has duly pricked a person to be sheriff of a county, the same shall be forthwith notified in the London Gazette; and a warrant in the form in the First Schedule to this Act shall be forthwith made out and signed by the Clerk of the Privy Council and transmitted by him to the person so pricked; and the appointment of sheriff so made shall be of the same effect as if made by patent under the Great Seal; and every sheriff so appointed upon making the declaration of office in this Act mentioned shall by virtue of this Act only and without payment of any fee have and exercise all powers, privileges, and authorities usually exercised and enjoyed by sheriffs of counties in England.

(3) (3.) A duplicate of the said warrant shall within ten days after the date thereof be transmitted by the Clerk of the Privy Council to the clerk of the peace of the county for which such person is appointed sheriff and shall be enrolled and kept by the said clerk of the peace without fee.

(4) (4.) Nothing in this section shall apply to the counties of Cornwall, Lancaster, or Middlesex.

S-7 Declaration of office.

7 Declaration of office.

(1)7. (1.) Every sheriff shall, before he enters on the execution of his office, make and subscribe a declaration in the form in the Second Schedule to this Act or to the like effect before one of the judges of Her Majesty's High Court of Justice or before a justice of the peace for the county of which he is sheriff.

(2) (2.) Every sheriff shall continue to be and act as sheriff until his successor has made the said declaration and entered upon office.

Powers, Duties, and Liabilities.

Powers, Duties, and Liabilities.

S-8 Powers of sheriff for posse comitatus.

8 Powers of sheriff for posse comitatus.

(1)8. (1.) Every person in a county shall be ready and apparelled at the command of the sheriff and at the cry of the country to arrest a felon whether within a franchise or without, and in default shall on conviction be liable to a fine, and if default be found in the lord of the franchise he shall forfeit the franchise to the Queen, and if in the bailiff he shall be liable besides the fine to imprisonment for not more than one year, or if he have not whereof to pay the fine, than two years.

(2) (2.) If a sheriff finds any resistance in the execution of a writ he shall take with him the power of the county, and shall go in proper person to do execution, and may arrest the resisters and commit them to prison, and every such resister shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

S-9 Duties at assizes.

9 Duties at assizes.

9. In the time of the assizes a court of quarter sessions in the county may direct a sufficient number of police constables to be employed to keep order in and within the precincts of the court of assize, and the chief constable shall comply with such direction, but if such direction is not given the sheriff shall have a sufficient number of men servants in liveries attending upon him for the purpose of so keeping order and of protecting the judges of assize.

S-10 Duties as to execution of writs.

10 Duties as to execution of writs.

(1)10. (1.) A sheriff at the request of a person delivering a writ to him for execution shall give a receipt for that writ stating the day of its delivery.

(2) (2.) A sheriff shall not return to a writ that he has delivered it to a bailiff of some liberty not heretofore recorded in the Exchequer.

S-11 Duties on receipt of debt to Crown.

11 Duties on receipt of debt to Crown.

(1)11. (1.) Where a sheriff or his officer or other person employed in collecting by process from any court any debt due to the Crown receives from any person a sum due to the Crown he shall give a receipt to such person for that sum; and the sheriff, at the next account after a sum due to the Crown has been paid to him or his officer, shall procure the effectual discharge of the debtor paying the same.

(2) (2.) An officer of a sheriff receiving any such sum shall account for it to the sheriff, and the sheriff shall give a receipt for such sum.

(3) (3.) In case of any default under this section, the sheriff and his heirs, executors, and administrators, shall be liable to pay any damages suffered by a debtor in consequence of such default.

S-12 Duties as to return of jurors.

12 Duties as to return of jurors.

12. A sheriff or any officer of a sheriff shall not return in any panel for an inquest or jury any officer or servant of the sheriff or of such officer.

S-13 Duties as to execution of judgment of death.

13 Duties as to execution of judgment of death.

(1)13. (1.) Where judgment of death has been passed upon a convict at any court of assize or any sessions of oyer and terminer or gaol delivery held for any county or riding or division or other part of a county, the sheriff of such county shall be charged with the execution of such judgment, and may carry such judgment into execution in any prison which is the common gaol of his county or in which the convict was confined for the purpose of safe custody prior to his removal to the place where such court was held, and shall, for the purpose of such execution, have the same jurisdiction and powers over and in the prison in which the judgment is to be carried into execution, whether such prison is or is not situate within his county, and over the officers of such prison, as he has by law over and in the common gaol of his county and the officers thereof, or would have had if the Prison Act, 1865 , and the Prison Act, 1877 , had not passed, and shall be subject to the same responsibility and duties as if the said Acts had not passed.

(2) (2.) This section shall be in addition to and not in derogation of any power authorised to be exercised by Order in Council under the Winter Assizes Act, 1876 , and the Spring Assizes Act, 1879 , or either of them, and of the provisions of the Central Criminal Court (Prisons) Act, 1881 .

S-14 Duties on arrest of civil debtors.

14 Duties on arrest of civil debtors.

(1)14. (1.) Where an officer being a sheriff, under-sheriff, bailiff, serjeant-at-mace, or other officer whatsoever arrests or has in custody...

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