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LAW DEBATE RULES & PROCEDURE

(from ANC Square Off)

PARTICIPATION AND ELIGIBILITY

Team Composition and Selection.

A Team is composed of three (3) debaters.

DEBATE MECHANICS

1. There are two sides (called Affirmative and Negative) and three debaters per side. The
motion is announced a week before the debate.

2. The burden of proof, while real, is much less significant in this debate format. Because
here, there are two cases on the floorThe most compelling case wins. The
affirmative does not carry a significant burden. Each debater is given two minutes to
interpellate (cross-examine) the opposing debater. The judge is also allowed to ask one
question of each debater.

3. There are three (3) arguments on both sides Necessity, Beneficiality, Practicability.
Each debater has four (4) minutes to deliver a constructive speech, rebut the speaker
before him (except the First speaker of the Affirmative) and discuss his assigned
argument.

4. The first speakers argue on the necessity (affirmative) or non-necessity (negative) of the
motion. The second speakers on beneficiality and the third speakers on practicability
(feasibility) of the motion.

5. The first affirmative speaker must make the affirmatives case crystal clear. He must
discuss the status quo (whether they seek to defend it or change it) and why their
proposal is necessary.

6. The first negative speaker will be given two minutes to interpellate the first affirmative.
He must only ask categorical questions (answerable by yes or no) and arrange these
questions in a cross-examination style to establish the weakness of the affirmatives
case and/or establish the negatives case.

7. He then has four minutes to clash with the points just made by the first affirmative and to
advance his argument that the affirmatives proposal is not necessary.

8. The first affirmative will then have two minutes to interpellate the first negative speaker
(also asking only categorical questions). He may use this opportunity to rebuild his case
and/or destroy the negatives case.

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9. The second affirmative has four minutes to clash with the opposition case and to deliver
his constructive speech on the benefits of adopting their proposal. He will then be
interpellated by the second negative speaker for two minutes.

10. The second negative speaker then has four minutes of his time to divide between
clashing with the affirmative case and delivering his constructive speech on the
repercussions or harmful effects of adopting the affirmatives proposal. He will then be
interpellated by the second affirmative speaker for two minutes.

11. The third affirmative has four minutes to clash with the opposition case and to deliver his
constructive speech on the feasibility of adopting their proposal. He will then be
interpellated by the third negative speaker for two minutes.

12. The third negative speaker will then have two minutes of his time to clash with the
affirmative case and to deliver his constructive speech on the impracticability of adopting
the affirmatives proposal. He will then be interpellated by the third affirmative speaker
for two minutes.

JUDGES

1. There is one adjudicator per debate.

2. A judge is allowed to ask ONE categorical question (no follow-ups) of each debater,
either during his speech or as he is being interpellated. The question and response must
fall within the time limits of the speech delivery or interpellation period.

COMPETITION COMMUNICATIONS

1. Only oral communications described in this Rules are permitted. In particular, no written
communication or exhibits may be delivered by any Team Member to any judge.

2. Written communication during the debate round shall be limited to written communication
among Team Members seated at the table. No other written communication may take
place among the debaters, spectators or Team Members not present at the table.

3. During a debate round, debaters at the podium and those seated at the table may not
operate laptop, cell phones, handheld or desktop computers or any other computing
device for any purpose.

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MARKING OF DEBATERS

1. There are four evaluation criteria: Constructive Speech or Matter (40 points),
Persuasive Skills or Manner (30 points), Interpellation (30 points).

2. The Matter mark is scored as if the speech was submitted in essay form. It has
everything to do with logic, preparation, arguments, evidence cited, jurisprudence cited
and analytic skill. It has nothing to do with the presentation.

3. Teams are required to conduct research and prepare their speeches. The formula is
ARGUMENT + EVIDENCE = PROOF. An argument without citing an evidence to
support the same is a mere assertion and does not merit any consideration.

4. As law students, the debaters are expected to use provisions of law and relevant
jurisprudence in support of their arguments. Judges should also consider the quality of
each argument and the relevance of the cited authorities.

5. MANNER: Manner or Presentation is marked out of a possible 30 points and judged


from a purely public speaking perspective: How did the debater actually deliver the
speech? Was the tone correct? The rate of speech? The pitch? The pauses? The eye
contact? The confidence? Etc.

6. Clarity and organization. Judges should listen to the debate as an average reasonable
person with an understanding of the law. The ability of the debater to convey his/her
ideas in a clear manner and with facility of expression are to be considered.

7. The use of humor, the manner of delivery, eye contact, voice, posture, and the ability of
the debater to convince an audience, are some of the elements within the purview of the
Manner criterion.

8. INTERPELLATION: This refers to the ability to cross-examine the opposing debater.


This refers to the success the debater has in clashing with the arguments of the
opposing team. Has he thoroughly understood the presented arguments and have they
responded effectively, logically and comprehensively in refutation.

9. This also includes courtesy and compliance with the rules. Judges should take note of
how a debater asks his questions, the logical sequence of these questions, and their
relevance. Debaters are advised to ask only categorical questions (i.e., those
answerable by yes or no); otherwise broad questions (i.e., how or why questions) will
elicit long explanations and sordid answers. Each debater is allowed two (2) minutes
each to conduct his/her interpellation.