Are jobs in the legal field all office jobs? Not all. The bailiff is at the centre of action. Close-up on this little known profession.
The bailiff executes searches, seizures and evictions required by the court, and serves official documents. This court officer can also serve an official statement, such as to give formal notice of damage caused to property, for example. He can also play a role of negotiator, including making an instalment repayment plan with a bad payer.
“We are seldom welcomed by the people we visit,” admits François Taillefer, president of the Quebec Chamber of Bailiffs (CHJQ) and senior partner at Paquette & Associés. “But my work gives me the satisfaction of contributing directly to justice being served.”
According to Emploi Québec, job prospects as a bailiff are currently favourable in the province, which has 425 practising bailiffs.
A regulated profession
Being a bailiff is not for novices. In Quebec, only members of the Chambre des huissiers de justice – their professional order in Quebec – are authorized to use this title and perform its functions.
To get there, candidates trained in Quebec must hold a college diploma in legal techniques or a bachelors degree in law. Those who have followed similar training outside the province are invited to submit an application for equivalence to the CHJQ. After analysis of their file, the Chamber may require additional training. A course on Canadian law, for example.
Aspiring bailiffs will then have to undergo a four-week training program provided by the CHJQ, complete a six-month internship under the supervision of a practising bailiff and obtain at least 60% for the CHJQ’s professional examination.
The ABC of the internship
“A large part of our profession is learned in the field, not in books,” says François Taillefer. Hence the importance of the internship.
These are the future bailiffs themselves, sometimes with the help of their teaching institution’s placement service, who must find an office ready to host them for this part of their training.
“In general, it is quite easy to find an internship,” says the president of the CHJQ. “The most important thing is to choose an office where the intern will want to work afterwards – we often want to hire them!”
The concern for accuracy and respect for rules, tact, composure and the ability to withstand pressure are the essential qualities to make your place in the profession.
“It’s a demanding profession. The work days are long and interventions are often stressful. But we never get bored,” François Taillefer concludes.