"Can I say I am very grateful to have the opportunity to speak here today at Chatham House. It is, after all, one of the world's leading institutes for the analysis of international politics and international relations and it's also famed for its so-called Chatham House rules which are honoured in our country very much in the breach. Well here I'm taking no chances. This is entirely on record." 1

References are sometimes made to 'Chatham house rules', a corruption of the correct usage. In fact, there is only one 'rule'. ;) Where a meeting sites Chatham Houes Rules, everything that discussed should be private. This gives people the freedom to say things they normally wouldn't. Of course, alcohol can do this as well, and my experience is that they're often mixed. Of course, an unspoken caveat is that people are free to do what they like with what they learn. So long as they do not breach the privacy of the forum.

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. 2

"Chatham House" has long been the name of a building in London. These days it is also the formal name of a London-based think tank focussed on international politics. The organisation that derives its name from the building used to be called "The Royal Institute of International Affairs", and was given use of the building in 1923. The building was so well known that the organisation was often known by the building's name and has recently renamed itself in recognition of this. The institute became "Chatham House" on 1 September 2004.
1. Australia: Beyond the Regional Financial Crisis, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, The Hon Alexander Downer MP to the Royal Institute for International Affairs Chatham House, London, England, 1 February 1999. (src: http://www.dfat.gov.au/media/speeches/foreign/1999/990201_beyond_crisis.html)

2. http://www.riia.org/meetings/rule.html

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