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

This is our interpretation of the rule:

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.

The original 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.


With this in mind, we do not allow speakers or delegates to make audio or visual recordings of our conferences, seminars, lectures or retreats.

Where we have sought and received specific permissions in advance we will sometimes make our own recordings of events and publish them on our Reports, Resources & Publications webpages to reach a wider audience. 

Some of our public events, including our Cumberland Conversations series, are not generally subject to the rule and are therefore filmed and recorded and a live stream made available on Facebook.

Images and ideas

People participating in our conferences, seminars, lectures and retreats are welcome to take photographs and share images on social media, so long as they have taken reasonable steps to gain the permission of those who could be identified from the image, and provided that they will do in any way risk revealing who is speaking at a given time or who has shared specific ideas or information.

Participants are encouraged to share their own ideas and reflections on our events if they wish to do so, and a social media hashtag will usually be provided for that purpose.

Participants can also share the information they gain from others, including on blogs or social media, but only if they are confident that they are not, explicitly or implicitly, exposing the source of that information. In practical terms this means avoiding any directly attributed quotations of fellow participants. For instance, a participant could 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.

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.