Terms and conditions – individual membership and suppporters

The following are the terms and conditions which apply to Chatham House membership and which constitute an agreement between you (an Individual Member, Associate Member, or Individual Supporter) and Chatham House.

By joining as a Chatham House member and agreeing to this document, you accept these terms and conditions. You should read them carefully and retain a copy for your reference.

Our current individual membership subscription amounts and a complete list of benefits relevant to each membership category can be found on our pages outlining our membership options.

Please note that in addition to these terms and conditions, your use of www.chathamhouse.org is also governed by:

These terms and conditions were compiled in line with Chatham House’s Charter and Bye-Laws.

1. Applying to be an Individual Member

Chatham House welcomes individuals with an interest and/or experience in international affairs to apply for Individual Membership. The election process takes a maximum of two weeks. 

a) Individual Members are recognised as members in a personal capacity and not as representatives of any organization. Accordingly, Chatham House will not discuss an individual’s membership with any third-party organization. Payment of the subscription is the responsibility of the named individual. 

b) To become a member, applicants must complete all mandatory fields on an up to date application form and contribute their annual membership subscription amount, plus joining fee (where applicable), at the time of application. 

c) All application forms ask for a personal statement of intention (100 – 250 words) which will be reviewed by the Membership Department before being submitted to the Director (or their designate) for approval.

Applicants approved by the Director will then be listed for review by existing members and staff at Chatham House for one week. Providing there are no objections individual membership will commence at the end of this period. Objections will be investigated before membership is approved or denied at the discretion of the Director.

d) The Director and Chairman of Council have absolute discretion over the selection of members. Rejected applicants have the right of appeal to the Chairman of Council, whose decision is final. After this there will be no further right of appeal.

If an applicant is not accepted for membership, they will receive a refund of the amount submitted minus the administrative joining fee. The institute also reserves the right to retain any additional donation submitted. 

e) Successful applicants will have access to their membership benefits once they have been formally accepted as members. Early access to benefits will be given at the discretion of the Head of Individual Membership, upon request.

2. Major donors and membership

a) Major donors enjoy full membership of the institute and are subject to the following paragraphs of these terms and conditions:

  • 5(a), 5(b), 5(e), 5(f)

  • 6

b) All those individuals who donate to one of the following supporter groups, above and beyond their standard individual member contribution, shall be considered as major donors to the institute:

  • St James’s Roundtable

  • William Pitt Group

  • Lionel Curtis Group

  • Director’s Circle

  • Presidents’ Circle

c) Upon deciding to discontinue their additional philanthropic support, major donors will revert to being individual members, subject to the entirety of these terms and conditions, for the remainder of their membership term (the anniversary of their last donation to Chatham House).

3. Renewing membership and contributing subscription amounts

a) Individual membership is valid for one year and renewable annually on the anniversary of the first membership period’s start date. 

b) Membership benefits and voting rights will be suspended when membership subscriptions are more than one month in arrears.  After three months, suspended memberships will be terminated and those wishing to remain members will need to reapply as new members.

c) Upon joining Chatham House or renewing your membership in a given year, you agree to remain a member of the institute for a minimum term. The minimum term of membership is twelve months from a member’s membership start date or twelve months from each annual renewal date thereafter. Those members choosing to contribute their subscription amount quarterly by credit or debit card are required to complete all payments for the relevant membership year.

4. Membership terminations and refunds

a) In accordance with the bye-laws, where a member wishes to withdraw their membership during the twelve-month subscription period, they can request to do so in writing to the Head of Individual Membership via email or by post to the institute. Where the withdrawal is agreed, the member’s benefits will cease, and any relevant library loans must be returned no later than three months after the withdrawal date.

b) Refunds will only be given in exceptional circumstances, for example in the case of critical illness or death or, if an error has been made, either at the point of payment by Chatham House or, in the case of Direct Debit payments, by your bank/building society.  In such circumstances, individual members or where appropriate their family or representative, should contact the institute at the earliest opportunity. 

c) If you inadvertently forget to cancel your payment after having provided notice of your intention to cancel renewal of your membership, you must contact the Membership Department Chatham House no later than 72 hours after payment. After this time a refund will not be granted.  

d) In no circumstances will a refund be issued to an organization which has purchased Individual Membership on behalf of an employee. Individual Memberships are issued in a personal capacity and are non-transferable. 

e) Any member who receives a refund in error, of an amount they are not entitled to, must re-pay to Chatham House when requested.

5. Member behaviour and visiting Chatham House

a) Chatham House members are expected to uphold a high standard of behaviour at all times and not to take any action or undertake any activity that might bring the institute into disrepute. They are expected to treat other members, guests and staff with courtesy and respect. Aggressive, discriminating, disrespectful or otherwise inappropriate behaviour will not be tolerated.  In these cases, Chatham House reserves the right to terminate membership with immediate effect. However, members retain the right to appeal to the Chairman of Council. 

b) Full members will be issued with a membership access card for gaining entry to Chatham House. In circumstances where the card is lost, members will be asked to pay for a replacement. Associate members, who visit the institute less frequently, will not be provided with a membership card and must check in at Reception, providing their full name and membership number on arrival. For security reasons members will occasionally be asked for photo ID.

c) Individual Membership is non-transferable and a member’s benefits/membership card should never be shared with another individual. Chatham House reserves the right to terminate the membership of any person found to be transferring their membership to another individual. There is no right for appeal in this case.

d) Unless otherwise agreed or stated on the website, members can bring one guest to most members events via advance registration. Members are not allowed to bring the same individual as a guest to more than one event during a 12-month period. Chatham House reserves the right, with reason, to refuse entry to a member’s guest. 

e) Those under the age of 18 who become members of Chatham House must be accompanied by a guardian over the age of 18 at all times when visiting Chatham House. Chatham House reserves the right to refuse entry of those under 18 to event receptions where alcohol is being served. 

f) Individuals can list their affiliation as a Chatham House member on their résumé, in publications such as Who’s Who and for other biographical purposes. Members may also join groups which show an affiliation to Chatham House within social media and networking websites, for example the institute’s pages on Facebook. However, unless they have the specific approval of the Director, whose decision shall be final, members are not permitted to use their Chatham House affiliation:

  • On personal business cards or book sleeves,

  • When writing articles or giving media interviews,

  • On other public platforms.

g) This is to ensure that the integrity of the institute’s research review process continues to be protected. Members who are uncertain about whether they can use their affiliation should contact the Individual Membership Team for guidance before proceeding.

6. Chatham House Rule and application

  1. Occasionally the Chatham House Rule will be invoked at meetings to encourage openness and the sharing of information. The institute takes any infringement of this Rule very seriously and all members attending meetings held under the Chatham House Rule must abide by it. Those who do not, may have their membership terminated with immediate effect.

The Chatham House Rule reads as follows:

When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.

Explanation of the Rule:

The Rule originated at Chatham House with the aim of providing anonymity to speakers. It is now used throughout the world as an aid to free discussion. Meetings do not have to take place at Chatham House, or be organized by Chatham House, to be held under the Rule.

Meetings, events and discussions held at Chatham House are normally conducted ‘on the record’ with the Rule occasionally invoked at the speaker’s request. In cases where the Rule is not considered sufficiently strict, an event may be held ‘off the record’.

Members who are uncertain about whether or not they can share the content of an event should contact the Individual Membership Team for guidance before proceeding.