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The Chatham House Rule | Compliance Roundtable

The Chatham House Rule

Compliance Round Table events thrive most when all the participants are actively engaged. In order to ensure that the events are an open and free place to speak, the Chatham House Rule is in effect.

The ideal Compliance Round Table event is one where the compliance experts at each organization feel free to express themselves and their opinions. One way we encourage discussion is by keeping each round table entirely free from vendor pressures. The other is by enacting the Chatham House Rule.


"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."

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 will take disciplinary action against a member or guest who breaks the Rule; this is likely to mean future exclusion from all institute activities including events and conferences. Although such action is rare, the rigorous implementation of the Rule is crucial to its effectiveness and for Chatham House’s reputation as a trusted venue for open and free dialogue.

For events held under the Chatham House Rule that are not organized by Chatham House, any actions taken because of a violation of the Rule are entirely at the discretion of the organizer.


Q. Is the Rule used for all meetings at Chatham House?
A. Not often for Members Events; more frequently for smaller research meetings, for example where work in progress is discussed or when subject matter is politically sensitive. Most Chatham House conferences are under the Rule.


Q. Who uses the Rule these days?
A. It is widely used by local government and commercial organizations as well as research organizations.


Q. Can participants in a meeting be named as long as what is said is not attributed?
A. It is important to think about the spirit of the Rule. For example, sometimes speakers need to be named when publicizing the meeting. The Rule is more about the dissemination of the information after the event - nothing should be done to identify, either explicitly or implicitly, who said what.


Q. Can you say within a report what you yourself said at a meeting under the Chatham House Rule?
A. Yes if you wish to do so.


Q. Can a list of attendees at the meeting be published?
A. No - the list of attendees should not be circulated beyond those participating in the meeting.


Q. Can I 'tweet' while at an event under the Chatham House Rule?
A. The Rule can be used effectively on social media sites such as Twitter as long as the person tweeting or messaging reports only what was said at an event and does not identify - directly or indirectly - the speaker or another participant. This consideration should always guide the way in which event information is disseminated - online as well as offline.


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