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n. 1) physically, an area in front of or next to the judge's bench (the raised desk in front of the judge) away from the witness stand and the jury box, where lawyers are called to speak confidentially with the judge out of earshot of the jury. 2) a discussion between the judge and attorneys at the bench off the record and outside the hearing of the jurors or spectators. 3) in journalism, a brief story on a sidelight to a news story, such as a biographical sketch about a figure in the news or an anecdote related to the main story, and sometimes enclosed within a box. (See: bench, approach the bench)

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(US) a discussion between the judge and the lawyers outwith the hearing of the jury in the court itself In the UK, the love of form and ceremonial means that the jury have to trek out to the jury room from time to time - usually much to their bafflement as to what is going on when they are not there.