are in camera meaning

Are in Camera Meaning?

Have you ever wondered about the true meaning behind the legal term “in camera”? What does it actually signify in court cases and private proceedings? And did you know that “in camera” has a connection with photography techniques as well? Join us as we unravel the mysteries of this intriguing term, exploring its various contexts and shedding light on its etymology. Get ready to discover the true meaning of “in camera” and challenge your assumptions!

Key Takeaways:

  • “In camera” is a legal term that refers to private proceedings or cases.
  • It can be used in the context of court cases, closed board meetings, secret diplomatic discussions, and private academic examinations.
  • In legal proceedings, “in camera” may involve the review of confidential information or trade secrets.
  • In the world of photography, “in camera” refers to techniques performed within the camera itself.
  • The phrase “in camera” derives from the Latin term “in the room” and has connections to the architectural concept of a chamber.

In Camera in Legal Proceedings

In legal proceedings, in-camera hearings or reviews are conducted when certain sensitive matters are involved. For example, cases related to national security or those that require protection of trade secrets may be heard entirely in camera.

In the United States, in-camera review is a process where a judge privately examines confidential or sensitive information to determine its admissibility or whether it can be made public. This review can be initiated at the request of a party or by the court’s order. It allows the judge to make decisions regarding the use, disclosure, or limitations of the reviewed documents or information.

In Camera in Other Contexts

private thesis examination

In addition to its use in legal proceedings, in camera is also employed in various other contexts. Closed board meetings, for example, are sometimes referred to as in camera meetings, where discussions cover sensitive topics that are not included in the official minutes or shared with the public.

It can also be used to describe secret diplomatic or political discussions, where confidentiality is crucial. These closed-door talks play a vital role in shaping diplomatic affairs, allowing negotiators to freely exchange ideas and explore potential solutions without public scrutiny.

In some academic settings, such as during a graduate-level thesis examination, the in-camera portion refers to the private session between the examining committee and the student, following a public presentation. This private thesis examination allows the committee to delve deeper into the student’s research, challenge their findings, and provide personalized feedback in a confidential setting.

Etymology of “Camera” and “In Camera”

camera obscura

The word “camera” that is used to refer to a picture-taking device has its origins in Latin. It originally meant an arched or vaulted roof or room, which eventually led to its usage for a room or chamber in English. The architectural sense of the word can still be seen in the names of certain places, like the Radcliffe Camera at the University of Oxford.

The evolution of the term for a room to represent a picture-taking device comes from the Latin term “camera obscura,” which refers to a darkened chamber or box with a lens that projects an image of external objects onto a surface.

On the other hand, the expression “in camera” derives its meaning from the Latin phrase “in the room,” and it is used to indicate private or secret discussions or proceedings.

Hyphenation and Usage of “In Camera”

When referring to private or secret discussions, the term “in camera” is usually written as two separate words. However, in some cases, writers choose to hyphenate the term as “in-camera.” This variation in usage can be influenced by style guides or personal preferences. Regardless of the format chosen, the meaning remains the same – the proceedings or discussions are intended to be private and confidential.

In the context of board meetings, the handling of the in-camera portion is also worth considering. The minutes of the in-camera session can be approached in different ways. Some organizations choose to separate the in-camera minutes as distinct and separate documents. These minutes record the discussions and decisions made during the private session, providing an accurate account of important matters discussed.

Alternatively, board meetings may opt for a more streamlined approach. Instead of creating separate minutes for the in-camera portion, the minutes of the regular session can simply indicate that the board moved into an in-camera session. In this format, the main minutes may highlight any resolutions or actions that arose from the private session without detailing the specific discussions.

Overall, whether written as “in camera” or “in-camera” and regardless of the approach to recording minutes, the essence of confidentiality and separation remains integral to the proper usage and understanding of this term.


In conclusion, the term “in camera” encompasses various meanings across different contexts. In legal proceedings, it refers to private hearings or reviews, often under the discretion of the judge, particularly when handling confidential or sensitive information. This practice ensures legal privacy and facilitates fair and unbiased decision-making.

Furthermore, “in camera” is also utilized in closed board meetings or academic examinations to signify secret or private discussions. These closed-door sessions enable frank and uninhibited exchange of ideas, ensuring the integrity of decision-making processes.

Additionally, within the realm of photography, “in camera” techniques involve capturing images using specific settings within the camera itself, without any external manipulation. This allows photographers to showcase their expertise, creativity, and mastery of photography techniques.

Understanding the nuances and applications of “in camera” is crucial for individuals involved in legal proceedings, private discussions, or photography techniques. By comprehending the concept of legal privacy, respecting closed meetings, and exploring the capabilities of in-camera photography, we can navigate these diverse contexts with confidence and professionalism.

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