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Asian Law Students Conference Academic Program (PARLIAMENTARY DEBATE !

Law Students Association of Sri Lan#a
Law Students Association of Sri Lanka
Asian Law Students Conference Academic Program (PARLIAMENTARY
Asian Law Students Conference Academic Program (PARLIAMENTARY DEBATE ! R"LES
Law Students Association of Sri Lan#a
The competition will generally follow the style of debate mandated for the Asian Parliamentary style and
will be governed by the following rules.
1.1 The format for debates in the Championships is three speakers a side with only two teams in each
1.2 After all speakers have spoken once, the first or second speaker for each side gives a reply speech,
with the opposition reply going first and the proposition second.
1. !ebaters "or members# will speak in the following order$
i. %irst Proposition &peaker.
ii. %irst 'pposition &peaker.
iii. &econd Proposition &peaker.
iv. &econd 'pposition &peaker.
v. Third Proposition &peaker.
vi. Third 'pposition &peaker.
vii. 'pposition (eply &peaker.
viii. Proposition (eply &peaker.
1.) &peakers not *holding the floor+ may not rise during a speech unless it is to offer a Point of
,nformation "see Part )# &peakers doing so, or considered to be heckling, barracking or whose behaviour
is interfering with the acceptable course of a debate will be declared -out of order or will be called to
order by the Chairperson.
1.. /efore a debate begins, each team must inform the chairperson of the names of their three speakers
and the order they will be speaking in.
1.0 The only persons who may speak in a debate are the three speakers for each team announced by the
chairperson at the start of that debate.
1.1 2otwithstanding rule 1.0, if, during a debate, a speaker declares that they are unable to make their
speech, another speaker from that team who was announced by the chairperson as speaking in that
debate may give a speech in substitution.
1.3 ,f a substitute speech is given in accordance with rule 1.1, 4udges shall award that speech the lowest
possible score within the 5arking &tandard, regardless of the 6uality of the speech. ",f such a situation
occurs, the marks for this speech shall not be used in the calculation for any individual speaker rankings
or awards.#
1.7 (ule 1.3 shall not apply in the case of reply speeches provided that, in accordance with rule 1.2, the
reply speech is delivered by either the first or second speaker on the team.
2.1 5atch8ups and venues will be announced before motions are revealed.
2.2 The Affirmative have the right to prepare in chambers "venue#.
Asian Law Students Conference Academic Program (PARLIAMENTARY DEBATE ! R"LES
Law Students Association of Sri Lan#a
2. Printed and prepared materials may be used during the preparation period. Access to neither
electronic media nor electronic storage or retrieval devices is permitted after motions have been released.
This includes but is not limited to, all kinds of computers, electronic databanks, cellular phones, etc.
Printed and prepared materials may be accessed during a debate, but 5A9 2'T be used during a
2.) Teams must prepare on their own. 'nce motions have been released, there must be no contact
between debaters in a particular team and their reserves, coaches, trainers, friends, observers or any
other individual for the purposes of assistance in the conte:t of the debate.
2.. Any violation of rule 2.) by an individual member of the team will be considered a violation by all
members of that team. Any team caught violating rule 2.) will be dis6ualified from the tournament.
2.0 Teams "all members who will be debating in that particular round# must arrive at their chamber within
1; minutes of the scheduled<given time of commencement of debate.
2.1 Teams failing to arrive in time for the debate will forfeit that particular round, at the discretion of
the chair of the panel. Teams failing to turn up for the debate on time, and with no valid reason, will lose
the debate by the widest possible margin.
.1 ,t is the duty of the timekeeper, or a panel member, or the Chair of the ad4udication panel, to time
.2 The timing of each speech starts at the moment that the member begins speaking.
. =nless indicated otherwise prior to the start of each debate, speaking time for speeches is 0 minutes
for ,mpromptu debates and 1 minutes for prepared debates, and for reply speeches ) minutes.
.) Team members or the team coach may give time signals to a speaker provided that the signals are
discreet and unobtrusive.
.. !uring a debate speakers may not communicate with their coach, other team members who are not
speaking in that debate, or any person in the audience, e:cept to receive time signals in accordance with
rule .).
Points of Information
).1 /etween the first and seventh minutes of a speaker>s substantive speech, members of the other team
may offer points of information.
).2 The purpose of a point of information is to make a short point or ask a short 6uestion of the speaker.
). Points of information need not be addressed through the person chairing the debate, and may be in
the form of a 6uestion.
).) A point of information should be brief, and no longer than 1. seconds.
).. Points of information are an important part of the clash between the teams, and enable speakers to
remain a part of the debate even when they are not making a speech.
).0 ?ence a speaker should offer points of information both before and after that speaker has given his or
Asian Law Students Conference Academic Program (PARLIAMENTARY DEBATE ! R"LES
Law Students Association of Sri Lan#a
her substantive speech.
).1 The speaker has the absolute right to refuse to accept a point of information, or to accept it only at the
end of the ne:t sentence.
).3 ?owever, a speaker is obliged to accept some points of information, provided that they have been
offered at reasonable times in the speaker>s speech.
).7 As a general rule a speaker should accept at least 2 points of information in his or her speech. /ut a
speaker who accepts a significantly greater number of points of information risks losing control of his or
her speech.
).1; 5embers of the opposing team should not offer an e:cessive number of points of information to the
point that they are barracking. As a general rule each team member should offer between 2 and ) points
of information per speech, and should not offer them within a short time of a previous point of information
having been offered.
).11 The response by the speaker to a point of information should be included in the mark for that
speaker>s speech.
).12 The offering of points of information should be included in the mark for the speaker offering points.
Definitions and Cases
..1 The Proposition must present a reasonable definition of the motion. This means$
..1.1 'n receiving a motion, both teams should ask$ -@hat is the issue that the two teams are e:pected to
debateA @hat would an ordinary intelligent person reading the motion think that it is aboutAB
..1.2 ,f the motion poses a clear issue for debate "i.e. it has an obvious meaning#, the Proposition must
define the motion accordingly. @hen the motion has an obvious meaning "one which the ordinary
intelligent person would realise#, any other definition would not be reasonable.
..1. ,f there is no obvious meaning to the motion, the range of possible meanings is limited to those that
allow for a reasonable debate. Choosing a meaning that does not allow the 'pposition room for debate
would not be a reasonable definition. Truisms and tautologies leave the 'pposition no room for debate
and are clearly illegitimate. !efining absolute words literally may prevent a reasonable debate, and they
can therefore be read down.
..1.) @hen defining the words in the motion so as "i# to allow the obvious meaning to be debated or "ii#
"when there is no obvious meaning# to give effect to a possible meaning which would allow for a
reasonable debate, the Proposition must ensure that the definition is one the ordinary intelligent person
would accept.
..2 The definition must match the level of abstraction "or specificity# of the motion, so that the debate is as
specific or general as the motion itself. &pecific motions should be defined specifically and general
motions generally.
.. 5otions e:pressed as general principles must be proven true as general principles. A single e:ample
will neither prove nor disprove a general principle. %inding arguments that e:plain the ma4ority of relevant
e:amples will be more important.
..) @hen suggesting parameters to the debate, or proposing particular models or criteria to 4udge it by,
the Proposition must ensure such parameters, models or criteria are themselves reasonable. They must
be ones that the ordinary intelligent person would accept as applicable to the debate.
Asian Law Students Conference Academic Program (PARLIAMENTARY DEBATE ! R"LES
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..).1 The PropositionBs ability to set reasonable parameters to a debate does not provide a licence to
restrict the motion arbitrarily.
..).2 @hen the motion re6uires the Proposition to propose a solution to a problem and the Proposition
has to set out the details of its proposed solution to prove its effectiveness, the Proposition must ensure
that the detailed solution given "the PropositionBs -modelB or -planB# is a reasonable one, such that the
ordinary intelligent person would accept it is applicable to the debate.
... ,f the PropositionBs definition is unreasonable, the 'pposition may$
....1 Accept it anyway "and debate the PropositionBs case regardless#C
....2 Challenge it "argue that the definition is unreasonable, put up an alternative, reasonable definition
and a case based on this#C
.... /roaden the debate back to the words in the motion "if the Proposition has unreasonably restricted
the motion and is arguing a narrower version of it#C
....) Challenge the definition "as in ....2#, but argue that -even ifB it is reasonable, the PropositionBs case
is flawed "as in ....1#.
Definition c)a**enges are N#T encouraged un*ess t)ere e+ists no reasona,*e grounds for de,ate.
..0 The challenge must be made in the speech of the Deader of the 'pposition, following a clear
statement that the definition is being re4ected. The onus for establishing the definitional challenge lies
completely upon the Deader of the 'pposition. The !eputy Deader of the 'pposition is strictly permitted a
purely clarificatory role "if any# in this regard.
..1 ,n the event of a challenge, the Deader of the 'pposition must 4ustify his<her re4ection by supplying the
grounds on which the original definition has been re4ected.
..3 ,f the Deader of the 'pposition does not challenge the definition, no other speaker may do so.
..7 The onus to prove that a definition is unreasonable is on the 'pposition.
..1; Ad4udicators should not indicate during the debate whether the definitional challenge has succeeded.
They cannot indicate which definition they find to be "more# acceptable. The final decision as to whether a
definitional challenge has succeeded must take into consideration all 3 speeches in any debate, sub4ect
to conformity.
..112either team "i.e. the second, third speakers# should abandon either the definitions or the challenges
of its opening speakers.
..12 !efinitions should not re6uire members of the house to have access to, or possess, specific or
e:pert knowledge.
..1 ,f a definitional challenge is upheld, the team making the challenge is to be declared the winner by
the largest possible margin ,f the definitional challenge fails, the team making such challenge loses the
debate by the largest possible margin. A definitiona* c)a**enge s)ou*d take -*ace in t)e rarest of rare
..1) The definition settled, each team has to present a case, supported by arguments and e:amples.
..1. A case sums up the teamBs arguments and states why its side of the motion is correct.
..10 Arguments are reasons or rationales why the teamBs case is correct.
Asian Law Students Conference Academic Program (PARLIAMENTARY DEBATE ! R"LES
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..11 E:amples are facts, events, occurrences and the like that show the teamBs arguments are correct.
..13 @hereas an unduly restrictive definition "such as limiting a general motion to a single e:ample# is
illegitimate and can be challenged or broadened, a Proposition that runs a restrictive case "such as
limiting itself to a single argument# acts legitimately and cannot be challenged for doing so, but runs the
risk of the 'pposition being able to more easily counter that case "by disproving that one argument and<
or by raising other arguments that disprove the motion, as defined#.
T)e Ro*es of t)e S-eakers
0.1 The role of the first speaker of the proposition is to define the topic, establish the issues for the
debate, outline the proposition case, announce the case division between the speakers, and present his
or her part of the proposition case.
0.2 The proposition may define the topic in any way provided that the definition F
0.2.1 is reasonably close to the plain meaning of the topic
0.2.2 allows the opposition team reasonable room to debate,
0.2. is not tautological or truistic, and
0.2.) is otherwise a reasonable definition.
0. &6uirreling, place8setting and time8setting are not permitted
0..1 &6uirreling is the distortion of the definition to enable a team to argue a pre8 prepared argument that
it wishes to debate regardless of the motion actually setC
0..2 Place8setting is the setting of a debate of general application in a particular place
0.. Time8setting is the setting of a debate of general application in a particular time, past or future.
0.) The role of the first speaker of the opposition side is to challenge the definition if necessary, present
an alternative definition if the definition is challenged, respond to the proposition case,outline the
opposition case, announce the case division, and present his or her part of the opposition case.
0.. The first opposition may challenge the definition only if it does not conform to ..2 or ... ,f it
challenges the definition, the first opposition must propose a new definition that conforms to ..2 and ...
0.0 ,f the first opposition does not challenge the definition, the opposition is taken to have accepted the
definition and the opposition may not challenge the definition in any other speech unless the proposition
significantly alters the definition in their subse6uent speeches.
0.1 ,n responding to the proposition case, the opposition team may produce a positive choice of its own,
or merely attack the case presented by the proposition. ,f it chooses to produce a positive case of its own,
it must in fact produce that case through its speeches, and not concentrate solely on attacking the case
presented by the proposition.
0.3 The role of the second speaker of the proposition is to deal with the definition if it has been
challenged, respond to the opposition case, and continue with the proposition case as outlined by the first
0.7 ,f the second proposition does not challenge a re8definition of the debate made by the first opposition,
the proposition is taken to have accepted the opposition>s re8definition and no further challenges to the
definition may be made.
0.1; The role of the second speaker of the opposition is to deal with the definition if it is still in issue,
respond to the proposition case, and continue with the opposition case as outlined by the first speaker.
0.11 The role of both third speakers is to deal with the definition if it is still in issue, and respond to the
other team>s case.
Asian Law Students Conference Academic Program (PARLIAMENTARY DEBATE ! R"LES
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0.12 The third speaker of either team may have a small part of the team>s case to present, but his is not
obligatory as the third speaker>s primary role is to respond to what has gone before in the debate.
0.1 ,f the third speaker is to present a part of the team>s case, this must be announced in the case
division by the first speaker.
0.1) The more the debate progresses, the more each speaker must spend time dealing with what has
been said by previous speakers.
0.1. ?ence the more the debate progresses, the less time will be spent by each speaker in presenting a
new part of the team case and the more time will be spent responding to the other team>s arguments.
0.10 The role of the reply speeches is to sum up the debate from the team>s viewpoint, including a
response to the other team>s overall case and a summary of the speaker>s own teamBs case.
0.11 The reply speaker may be either the first or second speaker of the team, but not the third.
0.13 The reply speakers are in reverse order, with the opposition reply first and the proposition reply last.
0.17 2either reply speaker may introduce a new part of the team case.
0.2; A reply speaker may respond to an e:isting argument by raising a new e:ample that illustrates that
argument, but may not otherwise introduce a new argument.
0.21 The proposition team does not have to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt, but merely that its
case is true in the ma4ority of cases or as a general proposition.
0.22 The opposition team must prove more than a reasonable doubt about the proposition case.
0.2 @here the topic is e:pressed as an absolute, the proposition must prove the topic true in the
significant ma4ority of cases, but not in every single conceivable instance.
0.2) @here the topic is e:pressed as an absolute, the opposition must do more than present a single
instance where the topic is not true and prove that it is not true for at least a significant minority of cases.
Marking Standard
1.1 Each speaker>s substantive speech is marked out of 1;;, with ); for content, ); for style and 2; for
1.2 The reply speech is marked out of .;, with 2; for content, 2; for style and 1; for strategy.
1. ,n order to encourage consistency of marks, speeches are marked within the accepted range
of marks and 4udges may not go outside that range. (See the Marking Standard - Annex 2).
Gudges may not use any other marking standard or categorise of marks.
1.) ,f a debater declares that they are unable to make their speech after a debate has begun, another
member of their team who was announced by the chairperson as being a speaker in that debate may
speak in their place. ,n such a situation 4udges shall award the speech the lowest possible score within
the 5arking &tandard, regardless of the 6uality of the speech.
1.. Content is the argument used by the speaker, divorced from the speaking style.
Asian Law Students Conference Academic Program (PARLIAMENTARY DEBATE ! R"LES
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1.0 ,f an argument is weak it should be marked accordingly, even if the other team does not e:pose its
1.1 ,n deciding the strength or weakness of an argument, 4udges should not be influenced by their own
personal beliefs or specialised knowledge.
1.3 &tyle is the way speakers speak.
1.7 Gudges should make allowance for different accents, speaking styles and debating terminology.
1.1; !ebaters for whom English is a second language shall be 4udged as if they were native English
1.11 ,n general, the use of palm8cards, lecterns, folders, notepads or other forms of speakers notes
should not affect the mark a speaker is given.
1.12 ?owever, speakers should not read their speeches, but should use notes that they refer to only from
time to time.
1.1 &trategy covers two concepts$
1.1.1 @hether the speaker understands what are the issues of the debate, and
1.1.2 The structure and timing of the speaker>s speech.
1.1) A speaker who answers the critical issues with weak responses should get poor marks for content
but good marks for strategy.
3.1 5anner refers to the presentation and delivery style of a speaker.
3.2 The following list represents some of the elements which are, or may be, subsumed under 5anner.
The list is intended as a guide, rather than as a number of marking categories. ,t is the combination of
these elements "rather than the accomplishment of each#, in various proportions that contributes to an
individual speakerBs style. The ma4or influence on an ad4udicator must be$ ,s the speaker s manner
E%%ECT,HE in advancing the caseA
3.2.1 a# Hocal &tyle $ Holume, clarity, pronunciation, pace, intonation, fluency, confidence, and
b# Danguage $ Conversational.
c# =se of notes $ &hould not distract, should not be read.
d# Eye Contact $ @ith audience.
e# Iesture $ 2atural, appropriate.
f# &tance $
g# !ress $ "only an issue if really inappropriate to the place or occasion#.
h# &incerity $ /elievability
i# Personal Attacks $
4# ?umour$ Effectiveness of and appropriateness.
3. As with 5atter "1.1# personal bias must not be allowed to influence an ad4udicator s assessment of
7.1 There are three ma4or elements in the conte:t of debating 5ethod. These are$
Asian Law Students Conference Academic Program (PARLIAMENTARY DEBATE ! R"LES
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7.1.1 ,ndividual 5ethod.
7.1.2 Team 5ethod.
7.1. (esponse to the dynamics of the debate "Points of ,nformation and the effectiveness, currency and
relevance of rebuttals#.
7.2 ,ndividual 5ethod pertains to the structure and organiJation of an individual speech. This may be
evident in a reasonably clear outline of the responsibilities of the speaker and the order of the issues to be
dealt with in his<her speech. ,t may also be apparent in the degree of fluency with which a speech moves
from one point to another in a clearly logical se6uence. &imilarly, a speaker may signpost his<her
transitions from one phase to another.
7. ,ndividual 5ethod pertains to the balance of a speech. @hereby, an e6uable division of speaking
time is made to allow each of the phases of the speech a reasonable time for development "opening
remarks,rebuttal, own points, summary, etc#.
7.) ,ndividual 5ethod pertains to good time management and good time keeping.
7.).1 'vertime speeches$ 'nce the double knock of the gavel has sounded, speakers have a 2;8
second grace period , during which they should conclude remarks already under contention and no
new matter should be introduced. After this grace period has elapsed, there will be a continuous
knocking of the gavel, and ad4udicators must disregard the rest of the speech. &peakers continuing
after the grace period can be penaliJed by the ad4udicators in the 5ethod category.
7.).2 =nder time &peeches$ ,f the speaker concludes his<her speech on or near the second single
knock of the gavel, he or she will not be penaliJed for an under time speech. ?owever, if
significant*0 under time, a speaker may be penaliJed under 5ethod and possibly also under
5atter. The latter, assuming that less matter was advanced, or that it was clearly underdeveloped.
7.. Team 5ethod pertains to the effectiveness of the team s case organiJation and structure as a whole.
7.0 Team 5ethod pertains to the e6uable division of roles "speakers# and responsibilities during a debate
and the effective ac6uittal of those roles and responsibilities.
7.1 (esponse to the dynamics of the debate pertains to the reactive abilities of speakers and teams to the
ongoing strategies being employed by both sides, and the shifts in the balance of power from one side to
7.3 Teams and speakers should respond to clear strategic issues, not minor slips of the tongue or
insignificant points.
7.7 !ynamic response may also affect 5atter marks for a speaker in cases where the identification of a
vital point, the cogent analysis of this point in the conte:t of the debate and a balanced attack on it is
developed in an ensuing speech.
7.1; Team members may keep time and signal members holding the floor. Time signals may not be
spoken aloud. &peakers may also keep their own time.
1;.1"a# Each school may enter up to a ma:imum of teams to compete at the Championships.
"b# A member of a school>s team must$
"i# /e registered as a student or prefect of that school
"ii# 2ot be enrolled at a purely tertiary or post8secondary school institution
"c# Each team may comprise of one reserve debater.
Asian Law Students Conference Academic Program (PARLIAMENTARY DEBATE ! R"LES
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"d# A designated debater< reserve of a team may not debate for another team of the same institution or
any other institution.
"e# (ule 1;"1# "d# is applicable even if the said debater< reserve has not debated for the team s<he was
originally registered for.
12.3 A de,ater wi** ,e e*igi,*e for a s-eaker -ri4e on*0 if s5)e )as de,ated in at *east 6 of t)e 7
-re*iminar0 rounds.
11.1 %ollowing the preliminary rounds, the top four ranked teams break into the semi8finals. The se6uence
determining match8ups and results at the entry to the 6uarterfinals stage is as follows$
A# @in versus Doss record.
/# Points differential "all win<loss margins added together#.
C# 'verall points "to decide between teams with the same number of wins and same overall average
margin of victory#
11.2 @here a team has withdrawn or failed to participate in a debate, the opposing team is taken to have
won the debate by forfeit.
11. @here a team has either won that team will be allocated the average score and average win loss
margin it has received in previous rounds. ,n the instance of a win or loss by forfeit in the first round, the
score received by the winning team shall be 20... and the margin of victory shall be 0.
C$AN'E #% R"LES$
13.1 Any or all of the above rules are sub4ect to change at the discretion of the organiJers.
13.3 The rules are non negotiable.
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Standard #9era** (5122! St0*e (562! Content (562! Strateg0 (532!
E:ceptional 3; 2 2 10
Hery Iood 1.817
"Ienerally meets
all basic
1. ; ; 1.
Pass 1181)
@eak 1; 23 23 1)
?alf points shall be awarded for (eply &peeches.