Sidebar (law)

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The sidebar is an area in a courtroom near the judge's bench where lawyers may be called to speak with the judge so that the jury cannot hear the conversation and/or they may speak off the record. Lawyers make a formal request by stating "may I approach the bench?" or, simply "may I approach?" to initiate a sidebar conference. If it is granted, then opposing counsel must be allowed to come forward and participate in the conversation.[1]

The term is also used generically to describe any conversation where some participants in a proceeding or meeting may step aside to discuss information not shared with the group.


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