from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A 15th-century to 17th-century English court consisting of judges who were appointed by the Crown and sat in closed session on cases involving state security.
- n. A court or group that engages in secret, harsh, or arbitrary procedures.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. An ancient high court exercising jurisdiction in certain cases, mainly criminal, which sat without the intervention of a jury. It consisted of the king's council, or of the privy council only with the addition of certain judges. It could proceed on mere rumor or examine witnesses; it could apply torture. It was abolished by the Long Parliament in 1641.
- n. Any court, committee, or other tribunal which exercises arbitrary and unaccountable power, or uses unfair or illegal methods, in investigation or judgment of persons.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. [capitalized] In English history, a court of civil and criminal jurisdiction at Westminster, constituted in view of offenses and controversies most frequent at the royal court or affecting the interests of the crown, such as maintenance, fraud, libel, conspiracy, riots resulting from faction or oppression, but freely taking jurisdiction of other crimes and misdemeanors also, and administering justice by arbitrary authority instead of according to the common law.
- n. Any tribunal or committee which proceeds by secret, arbitrary, or unfair methods: also used attributively: as, star-chamber proceedings; star-chamber methods.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a former English court that became notorious for its arbitrary methods and severe punishments
And indeed, the continued use of torture by the Star Chamber in the sixteenth century became one of the central issues between the Crown and Parliament, with torture being cited as being "totally repugnant to the fundamental principles of English law... and repugnant to reason, justice, and humanity."
When the cabinet agreed their budgets last autumn, there was much marvelling that the negotiations had taken place with such apparent ease that the prime minister did not once have to convene the Star Chamber to arbitrate between the Treasury and spending departments.
Britain's Star Chamber limited the number of printers so as to stop "dyvers contentious and disorderlye persons professinge the arte or mystere of pryntings or selling of books."
If passed, this bill will be yet another of the powers of Star Chamber accrued by the US Government in the name of homeland security: issuing search warrants through secret courts, accumulating personal records without warrant in a provision of the PATRIOT Act renewed by President Obama, and now protecting witnesses from legal recourse when they level dubiously factual charges.
The last word hung in the air, conjuring images of the Star Chamber.
When it comes to language, regular readers of the Star Chamber will know that frequent contributor Alan Kennedy is the local expert.
Mr Huhne, whose performance as a minister has impressed his Tory colleagues, would enhance the coalition credentials of the Star Chamber by seating a second Liberal Democrat on the court of appeal.
He accepted my offer to accompany him to the Star Chamber hearing to show he had local sup
If the Green Book rule is now applied retrospectively, an awful lot of MPs will be appearing before the Star Chamber, including Hazel Blears.
This meeting was 100% behind Ian, and I wrote a strong letter to the Star Chamber from Norwich North members.