Star Chamber

1. a former court of inquisitorial and criminal jurisdiction in England that sat without a jury and that became noted for its arbitrary methods and severe punishments, abolished 1641.
2. any tribunal, committee, or the like, which proceeds by arbitrary or unfair methods.
[1350-1400; ME]

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British prerogative court that exercised wide civil and criminal jurisdiction and was marked by secrecy, the absence of juries, and an inquisitorial rather than accusatorial system of justice.

It met in a room in the palace of Westminster whose ceiling was decorated with stars. It was employed extensively under Henry VIII because of its ability to enforce the law when other courts were unable to do so because of corruption and influence. When Charles I used it to enforce unpopular political and ecclesiastical policies, it became a symbol of oppression to his and Archbishop William Laud's parliamentary and Puritan opponents (though it never imposed the death penalty), and it was abolished by the Long Parliament in 1641.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Star Chamber — n 1 cap S&C: an old English court abolished in 1641 that exercised wide civil and criminal jurisdiction under rules of procedure suited to the prerogatives of the king and that was marked by secrecy, the absence of juries, self incrimination, and …   Law dictionary

  • Star chamber — Star cham ber, Star chamber Star cham ber(st[aum]r ch[=a]m b[ e]r), n. [So called (as conjectured by Blackstone) from being held in a room at the Exchequer where the chests containing certain Jewish contracts and obligations called starrs (from… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Star-chamber — Star cham ber, Star chamber Star cham ber(st[aum]r ch[=a]m b[ e]r), n. [So called (as conjectured by Blackstone) from being held in a room at the Exchequer where the chests containing certain Jewish contracts and obligations called starrs (from… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • star-chamber — star cham·ber (stärʹchām bər) adj. Secret, harsh, or arbitrary, as in procedures.   [From Star Chamber.] * * * …   Universalium

  • Star Chamber —   [ stɑː tʃeɪmbə, englisch], die Sternkammer …   Universal-Lexikon

  • star chamber — n BrE a group of people that meets secretly and makes important decisions …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • star chamber — noun count MAINLY LITERARY a group of powerful people who make decisions without caring whether they are fair or harmful to other people …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Star Chamber — late 14c., apartment in the royal palace at Westminster in which members of the king s council sat to exercise jurisdiction 14 15c., it evolved 15c. into a court of criminal jurisdiction, proverbial under James I and Charles I for arbitrary and… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Star Chamber — n. [ME, earlier Sterred Chambre: said to be so called because the ceiling was ornamented with stars] 1. a royal English court or tribunal abolished in 1641, notorious for its secret sessions without jury, and for its harsh and arbitrary judgments …   English World dictionary

  • Star Chamber — This article is about the court. For other uses, see Star Chamber (disambiguation). The Star Chamber (Latin: Camera stellata) was an English court of law that sat at the royal Palace of Westminster until 1641. It was made up of Privy Counsellors …   Wikipedia

  • Star Chamber — Als Court of Star Chamber (lat. Camera stellata, dt. Sternkammer) bezeichnet man einen englischen Gerichtshof, der von König Eduard II. eingesetzt wurde (die erste Erwähnung findet sich 1398 als Sterred chambre[1]) und bis 1641 bestand.… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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