In Camera

In camera (Latin: "in a chamber") is a legal term that means in private. The same meaning is sometimes expressed in the English equivalent: in chambers.

In camera describes court cases (or portions thereof) that the public and press are not admitted to. In camera is the opposite of trial in open court where all parties and witnesses testify in a public courtroom, and attorneys publicly present their arguments to the trier of fact.

Entire cases may be heard in camera when, for example, matters of national security are involved. In camera reviews may also be used during otherwise open trials—for example, to protect trade secrets or where one party asserts privilege (such as attorney–client privileged communications). This lets the judge review the document in private before determining its admissibility in open court.

In camera can also describe closed board meetings that cover information not recorded in the minutes or divulged to the public. Such sessions may discuss personnel, financial, or other sensitive decisions that must be kept secret (e.g., a proposed merger or strategic change the organization does not want disclosed to competitors).

The term also means the portion of a graduate level thesis examination that includes only the examining committee and the student. This follows a presentation by the student that the public may attend.