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The World Law Dictionary Project

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e.g. principle, consideration, jurisdiction
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in camera adverb

if a hearing or other meeting takes place in camera then it is held in private, especially in a judge's chambers (=office), away from the public and from reporters etc
Matters submitted for in camera review must remain confidential.

Hello I'm Robin and welcome to TransLegal's lesson of the week. Today we're going to talk about the phrase "in camera" and that is a phrase derived from Latin literally meaning "in a chamber".

Now this term usually applies to court cases or portions of cases which are conducted in private.

This can take place either in a Judge's private chambers or office or in a courtroom from which the public and the media have been excluded.

Certain cases may be ordered to be held in camera where highly sensitive matters are concerned, for instance, where children are victims of sexual crimes. Similarly, certain portions of trials may be held in camera if there are highly confidential facts, for instance, trade secrets or even top secret national security matters which a party does not want revealed to the general public.

A trial in camera is the opposite of a trial in open court.

Not just courts, but boards of directors of companies and other organisations sometimes hold their meetings in camera when they deal with confidential matters like advice that is subject to the attorney/client privilege. Also, local government councils and committees hold in camera meetings sometimes when dealing with personal matters about identifiable individuals or town employees or even during labour negotiations.

We hear the phrase in camera in contexts like the following:

"The proceedings were held in camera to protect the young victims and witnesses from public exposure".

We also talk about conducting hearings in camera or that the court sometimes conducts in camera review of documents.

Now I'm going to finish off and go off camera. Thank you for listening.

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