star chamber

(redirected from star chambers)

star chamber

A court or tribunal held in secret that engages in arbitrary procedures, especially resulting in particularly harsh punishments. The term originated in the 15th century with Henry VII's court of Star Chamber, which sat in closed sessions without a jury and was named for the stars painted on the ceiling of the original courtroom. It is an open secret that the despotic nation dispatches its political opponents by trying them in star chambers away from the public eye.
See also: chamber, star
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

star chamber

An unfair, secret judicial proceeding. This term comes from a criminal court developed in England in the 1400s in which the King’s Council acted as judges in certain procedures. They met in the Star Chamber of the royal palace at Westminster, believed to have been named for the gilded stars decorating its ceiling, and were notorious for their harsh decisions and punishments. This court was abolished in 1621, but its name later was transferred to similar proceedings. In the late l990s, when Kenneth Starr was serving as independent counsel in the investigation of First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, some pundits played on the term, alluding to “Mr. Starr’s chamber.”
See also: chamber, star
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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