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Rules of a British Parliamentary Debate Tournament

I. The Format of the Debate


A. The tournament will follow the British Parliamentary Debate Format
B. Teams will consist of the following members:
Opening Government:
PM and DPM
Opening Opposition:
LO and DLO
Closing Government:
Member of Government or Third Government member and Government Whip
Closing Opposition:
Member of Opposition or Third Opposition member and Opposition Whip
C. The speeches will be delivered in the following order:
(a) Prime Minister
(b) Opposition Leader
(c) DPM
(d) DLO
(e) Member of the Government
(f) Member of the Opposition
(g) Government Whip
(h) Opposition Whip
D. No member is allowed to deliver more than one speech before the house in a single debate.
E. Speakers who do not have the floor must remain seated throughout the course of the debate,
except when rising to deliver POI.

II. Preparation
A. Teams will be given the motion 15 minutes prior to the start of the debate.
B. Teams should arrive at their venue within 5 minutes after the scheduled commencement time
for the debate.
C. 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
while he or she has the floor.

III. Timing of the Speeches


A. The timing of each speech starts when the member, called upon by the Speaker or the
Chairperson, has taken the floor.
B. Speeches will be seven (7) minutes in duration. The Timekeeper with two strikes of the gavel
will signal the end of the seventh minute. Speeches over seven minutes and 20 seconds will be
penalized.
C. The Timekeeper, with one strike of the gavel, will signal the end of the first and the beginning
of the sixth (6th) minute of the speech. Points of Information (POI) can only be offered between
the end of the first (1st) minute and the start of the sixth (6th) minute of the speech.
IV. The Definition
The definition is the interpretation of the proposition, laid down by the Prime Minister, in
the opening remarks of the Government.
The definition should:
1. State the issue for debate arising out of the motion.
2. State the meaning of the essential terms in the motion; and
3. Have a clear and logical link to the motion.

V. Limitations of the Definition


A. The definition should not be self-proving (a tautology).
B. The definition should not be a truism. A definition is a truism when there is no reasonable
rebuttal and no reasonable opposing substantive case that can be forwarded against it.

C. Definitions should have a clear and logical link to the motion; otherwise, it will be a squirrel.
D. 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.
E. 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.
F. The definition must not require members of the house to possess special knowledge that only
an expert in a particular field would have.

VI. Challenging the Definition


A. If the definition provided by the Prime Minister is prohibited, then the Leader of the
Opposition has the right to challenge the definition.
B. The Leader of the Opposition should immediately and explicitly state that he or she is
challenging the definition.
C. The Leader of the Opposition should provide an alternative definition of the given motion
after challenging the definition put forward by the Prime Minister.
D. The Leader of the Opposition should negate the new definition he/she provided and build a
case on the said negation.
E. If the Leader of the Opposition does not challenge the definition, then no other member of the
house can challenge the definition.

VII. Ranking of Teams


A. At the end of the debate, the adjudicators should rank the teams from first place to last place:
(a) first placed team 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;
B. Teams will receive zero points when they fail to arrive at the debate more than five (5)
minutes after the scheduled time for debate without reasonable cause.

C. Adjudicators should come to consensus as regards the team ranking. When a unanimous
decision cannot be reached, 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.