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Chatham House Rule

Our meeting will proceed under the Chatham House Rule:

Chatham House is one of the world’s leading organizations for the analysis of international issues. It is membership-based and aims to help individuals and organizations to be at the forefront of developments in an ever-changing and increasingly complex world.

The world-famous Chatham House Rule is sometimes invoked at meetings to encourage openness and the sharing of information.

The Chatham House Rule reads as follows:

“WHEN A MEETING, OR PART THEREOF, IS HELD UNDER THE CHATHAM HOUSE RULE, PARTICIPANTS ARE FREE TO USE THE INFORMATION RECEIVED, BUT NEITHER THE IDENTITY NOR THE AFFILIATION OF THE SPEAKER(S), NOR THAT OF ANY OTHER PARTICIPANT, MAY BE REVEALED”.

Explanation of the Rule

The Chatham House Rule originated at Chatham House with the aim of providing anonymity to speakers and to encourage openness and the sharing of information.  It is now used throughout the world as an aid to free discussion. Meetings do not have to take place at Chatham House to be held under the rule.

Meetings, events and discussions held at Chatham House are normally conducted ’on the record’ with the Rule occasionally invoked at the speaker’s request.  In cases where the Rule is not considered sufficiently strict, an event may be held ‘off the record’.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

Q. When was the Rule devised?
A.
 In 1927 and refined in 1992 and 2002.

Q. Should one refer to the Chatham House Rule or the Chatham House Rules?
A.
 There is only one Rule.

Q. What are the benefits of using the Rule?
A.
 It allows people to speak as individuals, and to express views that may not be those of their organizations, and therefore it encourages free discussion. People usually feel more relaxed if they don’t have to worry about their reputation or the implications if they are publicly quoted.

Q. How is the Rule enforced?
A.
 Chatham House can take disciplinary action against one of its members who breaks the Rule. Not all organisations that use the Rule have sanctions. The Rule then depends for its success on being seen as morally binding.

Q. Who uses the Rule these days?
A.
 It is widely used in the English-speaking world – by local government and commercial organizations as well as research organizations.

[Read more about the Chatham House Rule]

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