British Parliamentary/World Championship
PART ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1 The format of the debate
1.1.1 The debate will consist of four teams of two persons (persons will be known as "members"), a chairperson (known as "Speaker of the House" or "Mister/Madame Speaker") and an adjudicator or panel adjudicators.
1.1.2 Teams will consist of the following members:
Opening Government: "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 of the Government" or "Third Government member and "Government Whip" or "Fourth Opposition member".
1.1.3 Members will speak in the following order:
(a) Prime Minister;
(b) Opposition Leader;
(c) Deputy Prime Minister;
(d) Deputy Opposition Leader;
(e) Member of the Government;
(f) Member of the Opposition;
(g) Government Whip;
(h) Opposition Whip.
1.2 The motion
1.2.1 The motion should be worded clearly.
1.2.2 The motion should reflect that the World Universities Debating Championship is an international tournament.
1.2.3 The members should debate the motion in the spirit of the motion and the tournament.
1.3.1 Teams should have at least fifteen minutes to prepare for all debates.
1.3.2 Teams should arrive at their debate within five minutes of the scheduled starting time for that debate.
1.3.3 Members are permitted to use printed or written material during preparation and during the debate. Printed material includes books, journals, newspapers, and other similar materials. The use of electronic equipment is prohibited during preparation and in the debate. It should be borne in mind that the use of printed material during a debate could affect a member's manner.
1.4 Points of Information
1.4.1 Points of Information (question directed to the member speaking) may be asked between the end of the first minute and the six minute mark of the speech (speeches are seven minutes in duration).
1.4.2 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 other speaking. The member may announce that they would like to ask a "Point of Information" or use other words to this effect.
1.4.3 The Member who is speaking may allow the person offering the point of information to make the point of information or may decline to take the point of information.
1.4.4 Points of Information should not exceed 15 seconds in length.
1.4.5 The Member who is speaking may ask the person asking the point of information to sit down where the person offering the point of information has had a reasonable opportunity to be heard and understood.
1.4.6 Members should attempt to answer at least two points ofd information during their speech. Members should also offer points of information.
1.4.7 Points of information will 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 (see Rule 3.3.4).
1.4.8 Points of Order and Points of Personal Privilege are not permitted.
1.5 Timing of the Speeches
1.5.1 Speeches will be seven minutes in duration (this should be signalled by two strikes of the gavel). Speeches over seven minutes and twenty seconds may be penalised.
1.5.2 Points of information may only be offered between the end of the first minute and the six minute mark of the speech (this periods should be signalled by one strike of the gavel at the first minute and one strike at the sixth minute).
1.5.3 It is the duty of the Speaker of the House to time speeches.
1.5.4 In the absence of the Speaker of the House, it is the Duty of the Chair of the Adjudication panel to ensure that speeches are timed.
1.6 The Adjudication
1.6.1 The debate should be adjudicated by a panel of at least three adjudicators, where this is possible.
1.6.2 At the convulsion of the debate, the adjudicators should confer and rank the teams, from first placed to last placed. (see Part 6, Marking and Ranking).
1.6.3 There should be no verbal adjudication of the debate and the results of the debate should not be released.
PART TWO: DEFINITIONS
2.1 The Definition
2.1.1 The definition should state the issue for debate arising out of the motion and state the meaning of any terms in the motion which require interpretation.
2.1.2 The Prime Minister should provide the definition at the beginning of his or her speech.
2.1.3 The definition of the debate should not be self-proving (truistic or tautological). A truistic definition is self-proving when the case is that something should (or should not) be done and there is no reasonable rebuttal and no reasonable opposing substantive case. A tautological definition is self-proving when the case is that a certain state of affairs exists (or does not exist) and there is no reasonable rebuttal and no reasonable substantive opposition.
2.1.4 The definition should have a clear and logical link to the motion.
2.1.5 Squirreling (choosing a definition which does not have a clear logical link to the motion) is prohibited.
2.2 Challenging the definition
2.2.1 The Leader of the Opposition may challenge the definition if it violates Rules 2.1.3, 2.1.4, 2.1.5 or 2.1.6.
2.2.2 The Leader of the Opposition should clearly state that he or she is challenging the definition.
2.2.3 The Leader of the Opposition should substitute an alternative definition after challenging the definition of the Prime Minister.
2.3 Assessing the Definitional Challenge
2.3.1 The adjudicator should determine the definition to be unreasonable where
(a) the definition is self-proving (truistic or tautological); or
(b) the definition has no clear and logical link to the motion; or
(c) the definition has been squirreled; or
(d) the definition has time or place set the debate.
2.3.2 The onus to establish that the definition is unreasonable is on the Opposition.
2.3.3 Where the definition is unreasonable, the opposition should substitute an alternative definition that should be accepted by the adjudicator provided it is not unreasonable.
2.3.4 Where the definition of the Opening Government is unreasonable and an alternative definition is substituted by the Opening 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 Opening Opposition, provided that the definition of the Opening Opposition team is not unreasonable.
PART THREE: MATTER
3.1 The Definition of Matter
3.1.1 Matter is the content of the speech. It is the argument a debater uses to further his or her case and persuade the audience.
3.1.2 Matter includes arguments and reasoning, examples, case studies, facts and any other material that attempts to further the case.
3.1.3 Matter includes positive (or substantive) material and rebuttal. It includes points of information taken.
3.2 The duty to present matter
3.2.1 Government Members (with the exception of the Government Whip) must present positive matter. The Government Whip may choose to introduce positive matter
3.2.2 Opposition Members (with the exception of the Opposition Whip) should attempt to present positive material. The Opposition Whip may not introduce positive matter (new material).
3.2.3 All members should attempt to answer at least two points of information during their own speech and offer points of information during opposing speeches.
3.3 The elements of Matter
3.3.1 Matter should be relevant. Arguments 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.
3.3.2 Matter should be logical. Arguments should be developed logically in order to be clear and well-reasoned.
3.3.3 Matter should be consistent. Members should ensure that the matter they present is consistent with the speech, their team and the remainder of the members on their side of the debate (subject to Rule 2.3.4).
3.4 Assessing Matter
3.4.1 The matter presented should be persuasive. "The elements of Matter" should assist an adjudicator to assess the persuasiveness of the matter presented.
3.4.2 Matter should be assessed from the viewpoint of the average reasonable person. Adjudicators should disregard nay specialist knowledge they may have on the issue of the debate.
3.4.3 Adjudicators should not allow bias to influence their assessment. Debaters should not be discriminated against on the basis of religion, sex, race, colour, nationality, sexual preference, age, social status or disability.
3.4.4 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 FOUR: MANNER
4.1 The Definition of Manner
4.1.1 Manner is the presentation of the speech. It is the style a member uses to further his or her case and persuade the audience.
4.1.2 Manner includes the style of the members' presentation and the structure of their presentation.
4.2 The Elements of Style
4.2.1 Eye contact will generally assist a member to persuade an audience as it is allows the member to appear more sincere.
4.2.2 Voice modulation will generally assist a member to persuade an audience as the debater may emphasise important arguments and keep the attention of the audience. This includes the pitch, tone, pace and volume of the debater and the use of pauses.
4.2.3 Hand gestures may help a member to emphasise important arguments. However, excessive hand movements may be distracting and reduce the attentiveness of the audience to the arguments.
4.2.4 Language should be clear and simple. Members who use language which is too verbose or confusing may detract from the other elements of manner.
4.2.5 The use of notes is permitted, but members should be careful that they do not rely on their notes too much and detract from the other elements of manner.
4.2.6 The use of humour is permitted and may be used by debaters to assist their presentation.
4.2.7 Any other element which may affect the effectiveness of the presentation of the member.
4.3 The elements of structure
4.3.1 The structure or organisation of material of the speech of each member. The member should structure or organise his or her matter to improve the effectiveness of their presentation.
4.3.2 The structure or organisation of material of the team. The team should organise or structure their matter to improve their presentation's effectiveness.
4.4 Assessing manner
4.4.1 The manner of the member should be effective. 'The elements of style' and the 'The Elements of structure' should assist an adjudicator to assess the effectiveness of the member's presentation.
4.4.2 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.
4.4.3 Adjudicators should not allow bias to influence their assessment. Members should not be discriminated against on the basis of religion, sex, race, colour, nationality, language, (subject to Rule 4.2.4), sexual preferences, age, social status or disability.
PART FIVE: ADJUDICATION
5.1 Ranking of Teams
5.1.1. At the conclusion of the Debate, the adjudicators should rank the teams from first place to last place:
(a) first placed teams should be awarded three points;
(b) second placed teams should be awarded two points;
(c) third placard teams should be awarded one point; and
(d) fourth placed teams should be awarded zero.
5.1.2 Teams may receive zero points where they fail to arrive at the debate more than five minutes after the scheduled time for debate without reasonable cause.
5.1.3 Teams may receive zero points where the adjudicators unanimously agree that the Member has (or Members have) discriminated against another debater on the basis of religion, sex, race colour, nationality, sexual preferences, social status or disability.
5.1.4 Adjudicators should confer upon team rankings. Where a unanimous decision cannot be reached after conferral, the decision of the majority will determine the rankings. Where a majority decision cannot be reached, the Chair of the panel of adjudicators will determine the rankings.
5.2 Marking the Debate.
5.2.1 The marks awarded to members and team should reflect the adjudicators' impression of debate.
5.2.2 The marks awarded to a team should be the total of both members' marks when added together.
5.2.3 The Chair should allocate marks to members and teams in consultation with the other members of the majority. Where the Chair dissents from a majority decision, he or she will nominate another to allocate marks in consultation with the remainder of the majority.
5.2.4 Marks should be in awarded with the following interpretation:
Matter Manner Total Meaning Letter Range
50 50 100 Flawless A (100-90)
47 ½ 47 ½ 95 Excellent
45 45 90 Very good
42 ½ 42 ½ 85 Good B (89-80)
40 40 80 Above Average
37 ½ 37 ½ 75 Average C (79-70)
35 35 70 Below Average
32 ½ 32 ½ 65 Poor D (69-60)
30 30 60 Very Poor
27 ½ 27 ½ 55 Bad E (59-50)
25 25 50 Very Bad