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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 oppressive proceedings. Abolished 1641. Supposedly so called because gilt stars were painted on the ceiling.
A royal court that began in England in the Middle Ages; cases were heard there without juries. Under the early Stuart kings, it was known for its tyrannical judgments. The name came from the courtroom's ceiling, which was painted with stars.
Note: Star Chamber is used as a general descriptive term for arbitrary tactics by a judge.