Chatham House rule

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Chatham House

Under the Chatham House Rule, anyone who comes to a meeting is free to use information from the discussion, but is not allowed to reveal who made any particular comment. It is designed to increase openness of discussion. The rule is a system for holding debates and discussion panels on controversial topics, named after the London headquarters of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, where the rule originated in June 1927.

The rule[edit]

The rule was created in 1927 and refined in 1992. Since its most recent refinement in 2002, the rule states:[1]

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.

Although sometimes referred to as Chatham House Rules,[2] Chatham House states that the singular should be used as there is only one rule.[1]


The rule is designed to promote openness of discussion of public policy and current affairs, as it allows people to express and discuss controversial opinions and arguments without suffering a risk to their career, and with a clear separation from the opinion and the view of their employer.

The original rule of 1927 was refined in October 1992 and again in 2002.[1] Chatham House has translated the rule into Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.[1]


European Central Bank[edit]

The European Central Bank (ECB) sometimes adopts the Chatham House Rule. In May 2015, release of a speech, which adhered to the rule, by ECB board member Benoît Cœuré caused divided opinion as to its use and his self-publication. The Cœuré speech affected currency, and stock and bond markets.[3][4][5] Thereafter, ECB invocations of the rule for a question-and-answer session and opening remarks for Cœuré, respectively, by Vice President Vítor Constâncio and fellow board member Peter Praet, gained attention. An ECB governing council member Boštjan Jazbec also had, the same month, convened questions-and-answers, under the rule.[2]

Bilderberg Group[edit]

The Bilderberg Group uses the Chatham House Rule for its annual conferences, which feature between 120 and 150 prominent politicians, CEOs, national security experts, academics, and journalists invited by the group's steering committee.[6][7] The practice has been criticized by some commentators, who view the conferences as a means for policymakers to make decisions without public accountability.[8][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Chatham House Rule". London: Chatham House. Archived from the original on 10 March 2018. Retrieved 14 July 2014.
  2. ^ a b Fletcher, Laurence (25 May 2015). "ECB error spurs questions about policy disclosures". MarketWatch. Archived from the original on 25 June 2022. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  3. ^ Jones, Claire; Fleming, Sam (20 May 2015). "Benoît Cœuré speech highlights central bank links to financiers". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 7 July 2015. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  4. ^ Black, Jeff; Worrachate, Anchalee (19 May 2015). "Hedge Fund Diners Get ECB's Market-Moving News Hours Early". Bloomberg Businessweek. Archived from the original on 16 August 2015. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  5. ^ Spence, Peter (28 May 2015). "ECB told off by ombudsman for fumbling market moving speech". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 1 December 2015. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  6. ^ Gilchrist, Karen (18 May 2023). "A secretive annual meeting attended by the world's elite has A.I. top of the agenda". CNBC. Archived from the original on 23 May 2023. Retrieved 23 May 2023.
  7. ^ "Secretive Bilderberg Meeting Draws Pompeo and Kushner". The New York Times. 31 May 2019. Archived from the original on 26 May 2023. Retrieved 23 May 2023.
  8. ^ Skelton, Charlie (20 May 2023). "At Bilderberg's bigwig bash two things are guaranteed: Kissinger and secrecy". the Guardian. Archived from the original on 23 May 2023. Retrieved 23 May 2023.
  9. ^ "The Secretive Bilderberg Group Is a Key to Understanding the Global Power Elite". The Wire. 18 June 2022. Archived from the original on 15 July 2023. Retrieved 23 May 2023.