Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun 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.
  • noun A court or group that engages in secret, harsh, or arbitrary procedures.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun [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.
  • noun Any tribunal or committee which proceeds by secret, arbitrary, or unfair methods: also used attributively: as, star-chamber proceedings; star-chamber methods.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Eng. Hist.) 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.
  • noun 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 WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a former English court that became notorious for its arbitrary methods and severe punishments

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[So called because the ceiling of the original courtroom was decorated with stars.]

Examples

  • 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.

    Feisal G. Mohamed: "See Something, Say Something" And Impunity for Profiling

  • 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.

    Feisal G. Mohamed: "See Something, Say Something" And Impunity for Profiling

  • 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.

    His calamity cabinet must be the despair of David Cameron | Andrew Rawnsley

  • 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."

    Craig Martin: The Fallacies of the Torture Debate

  • 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."

    Beijing's Crash Course in News Censorship

  • The last word hung in the air, conjuring images of the Star Chamber.

    Law of Attraction

  • When it comes to language, regular readers of the Star Chamber will know that frequent contributor Alan Kennedy is the local expert.

    Rambles at starchamber.com » Blog Archive » GIMME SOME CAW-FEE!

  • 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.

    Spending cuts: When ministers talk of lynch mobs, you know they're scared

  • The last word hung in the air, conjuring images of the Star Chamber.

    Law of Attraction

  • The last word hung in the air, conjuring images of the Star Chamber.

    Law of Attraction

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.