RULES OF THE 1998 WORLD UNIVERSITIES DEBATING CHAMPIONSHIPS
Part I — Introduction
1.1 The format of the debate
The debate will consist of four teams of two persons persons will be known as "members"), a Speaker (known as the "Speaker of the House" or "Mister/Madame Speaker"), an adjudicator or panel of adjudicators, of whom one will be designated "Chairperson" by the organisers, and a Timekeeper.
The duties of the Speaker are to call the House to order and recognise members of the House who are to take the floor. In the event a Speaker is not available, the duties of the Speaker will be fulfilled by the Chairperson.
Teams will consist of the following members:
"Prime Minister" or "First Government member" and "Deputy Prime Minister" or "Second Government member";
"Leader of the Opposition" or "First Opposition member" and "Deputy Leader of the Opposition" or "Second Opposition member";
"Member for the Government" or "Third Government member" and "Government Whip" or "Fourth Government member";
"Member for the Opposition" or "Third Opposition member" and "Opposition Whip" or "Fourth Opposition member".
Members will deliver substantive speeches in the following order:
(a) Prime Minister
(b) Opposition Leader
(c) Deputy Prime Minister
(d) Deputy Opposition Leader
(e) Member for the Government
(f) Member for the Opposition
(g) Government Whip
(h) Opposition Whip
No member is allowed to deliver more than one speech before the house in a single debate.
Speakers who do not have the floor must remain seated throughout the course of the debate, except when rising to deliver points of information.
1.2 The motion
The motion must be worded clearly.
The motion must reflect that the World Universities Debating Championship is an international tournament.
Teams will be given the motion 15 minutes prior to the commencement of the debate.
Teams should arrive at their venue within 5 minutes of the scheduled commencement time for the debate.
Members are allowed to use printed and written materials during their preparation and the debate. The use of electronic equipment is prohibited both during preparation and during the debate. It is also prohibited for members to pass any printed and written material to their partner whilst he or she has the floor.
1.4 Timing of the speeches
It is the duty of the Timekeeper to time the speeches.
In the absence of a Timekeeper, it is the duty of the Chairperson of the Adjudication panel to ensure that speeches are timed by an adjudicator in the panel.
The timing of each speech starts when the member, called upon by the Speaker or the Chairperson, has taken the floor.
Speeches will be seven minutes in duration. The end of the seventh minute will be signalled by the Timekeeper with two strikes of the gavel. Speeches over seven minutes and 20 seconds will be penalised.
The end of the first and the beginning of the sixth minute of the speech, will be signalled by the Timekeeper, with one strike of the gavel . Points of information can only be offered between the end of the first minute and the sixth minute of the speech.
Debates in the nine preliminary rounds, will be adjudicated by panels of three adjudicators, where this is possible. Where this is not possible, debates will be adjudicated by panels of two adjudicators, and if this is not possible either, by a single adjudicator.
Debates in the Octo-Final, Quarter-Final and Semi-Final rounds, will be adjudicated by panels of at least three adjudicators, or by larger odd numbered panels of adjudicators.
The "English as a Second Language" Final will be adjudicated by a panel of at least three adjudicators, or by a larger odd numbered panel of adjudicators.
The Grand Final will be adjudicated by a panel of seven or nine adjudicators.
Adjudicators eligible to judge after the preliminary rounds, must have extensive adjudicating experience in parliamentary debate. They must have judged at least five previous rounds
and/or have adjudicated or debated in previous World Universities Debating Championships.
Communication of the adjudication results for a debate by the adjudicators to the teams is prohibited.
The results of the first three preliminary rounds will be released to the teams by the organisers, prior to the fourth preliminary round.
Part II — Definitions
2.1 The definition
The definition is the interpretation of the motion, as put forward by the Prime Minister, in the opening remarks of the Government.
The definition should:
a) State the issue for debate arising out of the motion
b) State the meaning of any terms in the motion which
c) Have a clear and logical link to the motion
2.1 Prohibited definitions
The definition should not be self-proving (a tautology).
The definition should not be a truism.
A definition is an imperative truism when it suggests that something should (or should not) be done and there is no reasonable rebuttal and no reasonable opposing substantive case. A definition is a practical truism when it suggests that a certain state of affairs exists (or does not exist) and there is no reasonable rebuttal and no reasonable substantive opposition.
Definitions that have no clear and logical link to the motion are referred to as ‘squirrels’ and are prohibited.
The definition must not be time set. This happens when the subject matter is confined to a specific time, in the past, present or future, in order for the definition of the motion to stand.
The definition must not be place set. This happens when the subject matter is confined to a specific location, in order for the definition of the motion to stand.
The definition must not require members of the house to possess specific knowledge that only an expert in a particular field would have.
2.3 Challenging the definition
If the definition provided by the Prime Minister is prohibited according to section 2.2, then the Leader of the Opposition has the right to challenge the definition.
The Leader of the Opposition should clearly state that he or she is challenging the definition.
The Leader of the Opposition should substitute an alternative definition after challenging the definition put forward by the Prime Minister.
If the Leader of the Opposition does not challenge the definition, then no other member of the house can challenge the definition.
2.4 Assessing the challenge of the definition
The adjudicator should determine the definition presented by the Prime Minister to be unreasonable when:
a) the definition is tautological; or
b) the definition is truistic; or
c) the definition has no clear and logical link to the motion; or
d) the definition has time set the debate; or
e) the definition has place set the debate; or
f) the definition requires specific knowledge.
The onus to establish that the definition is unreasonable is on the Opposition.
When the definition is unreasonable, the Leader of the Opposition should substitute an alternative definition that should be accepted by the adjudicator provided it is not unreasonable. The adjudicator(s) will not indicate to the debaters during the course of the debate which definition is accepted..
When the definition offered by the Prime Minister is unreasonable and an alternative definition has been put forward by the Leader of the Opposition, the Closing Government may introduce matter which is inconsistent with the matter presented by the Opening Government, and consistent with the definition of the Leader of the Opposition, provided the latter is not also unreasonable.
Part III — Matter
3.1 The definition of matter
Matter refers to the material content of the speech. It includes positive material, rebuttal and points of information.
Positive material includes reasoning and arguments, examples, case studies, facts, statistics, the use of
analogies and any other material that a member uses to further his or her case.
Rebuttal is material introduced to explicitly dispute an argument of an opponent, while positive material furthers the members’ case, but does not explicitly refer to an argument of an opponent.
Matter includes points of information offered (questions directed to the member speaking) and points of information accepted.
3.2 The duty to present matter in substantive speeches
Government members (with the exception of the Government Whip) must present positive material. The Government Whip is permitted to introduce positive matter.
Opposition members (with the exception of the Opposition Whip) should attempt to present positive material. The Opposition Whip must not introduce positive material.
3.3 The duty to answer and offer points of information
Points of information may only be offered to members of opposing teams.
To ask a point of information, a member should stand. The member may place one hand on his or her head and extend the other towards the member speaking. Members may announce their intention by saying "on a point of information Sir/Madam" or by using other words to this effect.
Points of information should not exceed 15 seconds in duration and must be pertinent to the point being made by the member who has the floor.
The member who is speaking may allow the offeror to make the point of information or may decline to accept the point of information.
The member who is speaking may ask the offeror to sit down when the offeror has had a reasonable opportunity to be heard and understood.
All members should accept at least two points of information during their own speech.
All members should try and offer points of information during opposing speeches.
Points of Order and Points of Personal Privilege are not permitted.
Refers to the organisation of the material content of the speech.
An effective individual structure may include:
(a) An opening and close to the speech
(b) A clear line of argument
(c) Clearly laid out, supported arguments
(d) A well-timed speech
An effective team structure may include:
(a) A clear unifying line of argument and evolution of
(b) A division of duties between members of the same team
3.5 The elements of matter
Matter should relate to the issues of the debate and the case being presented. The member should appropriately prioritise and apportion time to the dynamic issues of the debate.
Matter should be logical and well reasoned.
Matter should be consistent. Members should ensure that the matter they present is consistent within their speech, within their team and with the other members on their side of the debate (subject to Rule 2.4.4)
Closing Government and Closing Opposition teams must advance the debate by presenting new matter, but in a manner generally consistent with the matter proposed by their opening teams (subject to rule 2.4.4).
3.6 Assessing matter
The matter presented should be persuasive. ‘The elements of matter’ should assist an adjudicator to assess the persuasiveness of the matter presented.
Matter should be assessed from the viewpoint of the average reasonable person. Adjudicators should disregard any specialist knowledge they may have on the issues of the debate.
Adjudicators should not allow bias to influence their assessment. Debaters should not be discriminated against on the basis of religion, sex, race, nationality, sexual preference, age, social status or disability.
Points of information should be assessed according to the effect they have on the persuasiveness of the cases of both the member answering the point of information, and the member offering the point of information.
Part IV — Manner
4.1 The definition of manner
Manner is the presentation and delivery style of the member.
4.2 The elements of style
Eye contact will generally assist a member to persuade an audience as it allows the member to appear more sincere.
Voice modulation may assist a member to emphasise important arguments and keep the attention of the audience. This includes the pitch, tone, pace and volume of the member and the use of pauses.
Hand gestures may help a member to emphasise important arguments or to appear confident. However, excessive hand movements may be distracting and reduce the attentiveness of the audience to the arguments.
Language should be clear and simple. Members who use language which is too verbose or confusing, may detract from the argument if they lose the attention of the audience, or the audience has difficulty understanding their arguments.
The use of notes is permitted. However, members should be careful not to rely on their notes excessively, as this may become a distraction for the audience and disrupt the quality of delivery of the member.
The use of humour is encouraged and may be used by members to assist their presentation.
4.3 Assessing manner
The manner of the member should be effective. ‘The elements of style’ should assist an adjudicator to assess the effectiveness of the member’s presentation.
Adjudicators should be aware that at a World Championship, there are many styles which are appropriate, and that they should not discriminate against a member simply because the manner would be deemed ‘inappropriate Parliamentary debating’ in their own country.
Adjudicators should not allow bias to influence their assessment. Members should not be discriminated against on the basis of religion, sex, race, nationality, language (subject to Rule 4.2.4), sexual preference, age, social status or disability.
Part V — Ranking and marking
At the end of every debate, each adjudicator must fill in an Adjudication Sheet, and each panel of adjudicators must prepare a Speed Ballot. It is the Chairperson’s duty to fill in the Speed Ballot.
5.2 Ranking the teams
At the conclusion of the debate, the adjudicators should confer and rank the teams from first place to last place:
(a) first placed teams should be awarded three (3) points;
(b) second placed teams should be awarded two (2) points;
(c) third placed teams should be awarded one (1) point;
(d) fourth placed teams should be awarded zero (0) points.
Teams will receive zero points when they fail to arrive at the debate more than five minutes after the scheduled time for debate without reasonable cause.
Teams will receive zero points when the adjudicators unanimously agree that the member has (or members have) discriminated against another member on the basis of religion, sex, race, nationality, sexual preference, social status or disability.
Adjudicators should confer upon team rankings. When a unanimous decision cannot be reached after conferral, the decision of the majority will determine the rankings. When a majority decision cannot be reached, the Chair of the panel of adjudicators will determine the rankings.
5.3 Ranking the Substitute Teams
Two types of substitute teams may be used in the Tournament if need arises. "Shadow Teams" and "Home Teams".
"Shadow Teams" will fill in for competing teams that have failed to arrive to a debate, in order to facilitate the debate. The competing teams will receive a rank of zero points and zero quality points, and a note should be made on the adjudication sheets and the speed ballot of the use of a "shadow team".
"Home Teams" will be used if the total number of competing teams is not divisible by 4. As regards ranking, adjudicators will treat the "Home Teams" as competing teams, assigning ranks based on the performance of the teams in the debate. However members of the "Home Teams" will not receive
quality points, and will not be eligible to qualify.
5.4 Marking the debate
The quality points awarded to members and teams should reflect the adjudicators’ assessment of the persuasiveness of speakers and teams in terms of matter and manner.
Matter Manner Total Meaning
50 50 100 Flawless
47 ½ 47 ½ 95 Excellent
45 45 90 Very good
42 ½ 42 ½ 85 Good
40 40 80 Above Average
37 ½ 37 ½ 75 Average
35 35 70 Below Average
32 ½ 32 ½ 65 Poor
30 30 60 Very Poor
27 ½ 27 ½ 55 Bad
25 25 50 Very Bad
Where there is a panel of adjudicators, the panel should first agree on a letter grade for each individual speaker according to the following table:
Letter Grade Meaning of Grade Quality Points
A Excellent 90-100
B Good, above average 80-89
C Average 70-79
D Poor, bellow average 60-69
E Very Poor 50-69
When a unanimous decision cannot be reached after conferral, the decision of the majority will determine the letter grades. Where a majority decision cannot be reached, the Chair of the panel of adjudicators will determine the letter grades.
After agreeing on letter grades for each individual speaker, adjudicators must then award quality points to each individual speaker at their discretion, but within the confines of the letter grade that they have agreed upon.
Low Point Wins are not allowed. A team with a rank of 3, must have a larger or equal sum of quality points with the team with a rank of 2, which in turn must have a larger or equal sum of quality points with the team with a rank of 1 and so on. It is the responsibility of all adjudicators to check that a low point win does not occur.