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Chatham House Rule

Posted by Ivo Vegter on June 24, 2003

A thread in January concerned the Chatham House Rule. It did not originate in the 1980s. It was established by the Royal Institute for International Affairs (located at Chatham House) in 1927.

The original rule reads:

"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; nor may it be mentioned that the information was received at a meeting of the Institute."

The RIIA amended the rule in 1992 to reflect the modern interpretation that does not prohibit disclosing where the information was received. It now reads:

"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".

Not all RIIA meetings are held under the Chatham House Rule (of which there is only one), and the meeting's chairperson may declare meetings, or part thereof, "on the record" or, if freer discussion is desired, under the Chatham House Rule.