Chambers is a term in law that refers to two distinct concepts. A barrister's chambers or barristers' chambers are the rooms used by a barrister or a group of barristers. A judge's chambers, on the other hand, is the office of a judge, where he may hear certain types of cases, instead of in open court.
A judge's chambers is the office of a judge, where certain types of matters can be heard "in chambers", also known as In camera, rather than in open court. Generally, cases heard in chambers are cases, or parts of cases, where the public and press are not allowed to observe the procedure. Judge's chambers are often located on upper floors of the court house, away from the court rooms, sometimes in groupings of judge's chambers.
In some jurisdictions, a court room, rather than the judge's actual chambers, are used to hear matters "in chambers". Such court rooms may also be called "chambers".
In England and Wales, New Zealand, Australia, and Hong Kong, chambers may refer to the rooms used by a barrister or to a group of barristers, especially in the Inns of Court. Barristers cannot form partnerships or companies, and are therefore regarded as self-employed sole practitioners. To share costs and expenses, it has become normal for barristers to operate fraternally with eachother, as 'chambers'. Chambers are administered by barristers' clerks who receive cases from solicitors and agree on matters such as fees on behalf of their employers; they then provide case details to the barristers.
Some chambers specialise in particular areas of law. There are chambers all over England and Wales; however, the largest concentration of them is in London. A report by the General Council of the Bar in 2006, showed that of the 355 practicing chambers in the United Kingdom, 210 were based in London.
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