Duhaime's Law Dictionary

In Camera Definition:

A closed and private session of Court or some other deliberating body.

The hearing of a trial or hearing, in whole or in part, that is conducted in private and the pubic galleries are cleared and the doors locked, leaving only the judge, the Court clerk, the parties and lawyers and witnesses in attendance.

It is a rare and infrequent occurrence for a Court to do this as public access and transparency are both paramount to justice.

However, from time to time, there are overriding concerns where the violation of personal privacy combined with the vulnerability of the witness or parties justifies an in camera hearing.

Examples are marriage annulments where evidence of sexual dysfunction is required. So few people are affected by the Order sought that there is little harm done in ordering that the evidence be received in camera. In the alternative, the evidence is received in open court causing significant embarrassment to the litigants.

A corporate or agency board may from time to time have parts or full meeting in camera at which time all or select staff officers are excused. For example, where medical or personnel decisions are reviewed, considered or made, staff officers except the personnel officer, the president and the corporate secretary, may be excused for that portion of the meeting. In no case, though, should a corporate secretary be excused as she or he is the keeper of the corporate memory.

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