Many of our events, including our conferences and retreats, are subject to the Chatham House Rule, to facilitate the exchange of views and open debate in a safe environment.

When a meeting or conference, or a session within that meeting or conference, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants can quote and use the ideas and information they gain from it, but they cannot identify, either explicitly or implicitly, what the source of that information was.

In practical terms this means avoiding any directly attributed quotations. For instance, a participant is welcome to share a quote from a lecture, or an idea expressed in a question-and-answer session, but without revealing who said it or when it was said. This also applies to online content such as tweeting, messaging or posting on social media.

The Rule was devised at Chatham House, London, in 1927, to encourage free debate whilst protecting the privacy of speakers and delegates at a meeting or conference. This approach has been central to our ethos as an organisation since our founding in 1947.

Images and ideas

Participants are encouraged to share their  ideas and reflections on our events, and a social media hashtag will generally be provided.

Please be careful not to share photos of speakers or participants that might allow people to identify who said what, and when, and please always ask for permission from the subject of your photo before sharing.

Recordings

With this in mind, we do not allow speakers or delegates to make audio or visual recordings of our conferences, seminars, lectures or retreats. We also ask participants not to share event programmes or delegate lists, offline or online.

Where we have received specific permission to waive the Chatham House Rule for guest presentations, we may make our own recordings and publish them on our Read, Watch, Listen webpages to reach a wider audience. 

Some of our public events, including our Cumberland Conversations series and the Cumberland Lodge Debate, are not subject to the rule and are therefore routinely filmed or recorded.

Further guidance

If you are attending an event that is subject to the Chatham House Rule and you are unsure about how the rule works in practice, please ask a member of our staff for guidance.