Pupils from 16 schools across Scotland have battled their way to this week's semi-finals of the Law Society of Scotland’s Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament. 

128 teams took part in the opening rounds of the competition, pitting their wits against one another as they debated whether monuments to controversial figures should be removed.

The second rounds saw the 64 remaining teams weigh up the ethical implications of democratic countries boycotting the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The competition will ramp up another notch in the next round, as the students are presented with an unseen motion just one hour before the semi-final debates begin.

Lyndsey Thomson, Careers and Outreach coordinator at the Law Society, said: “The Donald Dewar debate is an absolutely fantastic initiative and a real pleasure to be involved with. 

“It offers unique and developmental experiences for our young debaters who are of course, one hundred per cent focused on making it to the grand final in the debating chamber of the Scottish parliament.

“The debaters will get sight of the motion just one hour before the semi-final debate kicks off.  They won’t have any access to newspapers, computers or smartphones in that final hour, which is a real challenge for our young debaters.  I can’t wait to hear what they have to say.”

The semi-finals of the competition will be held in Scottish schools on Tuesday 20 March and the final will take place in the debating chamber of the Scottish Parliament on Thursday 7 June.

Law firm TC Young and publishers Hodder Gibson are event sponsors, the Law Society provides the first prize of £1,000 and a runners up prize of £250 is donated by the Glasgow Bar Association. The top two schools will share educational books to the value of £500 donated by Hodder Gibson and the winner of the best floor speech will receive a £50 book token.

You can keep up to date with this year’s competition online at www.lawscot.org.uk/debating or at #DewarDebate on twitter.

All schools through to the semi-finals are listed below

St Margaret's School for Girls, Aberdeen
Fortrose Academy, Fortrose
Robert Gordon's College, Aberdeen
Strathallan School, Forgandenny
The Royal High School, Edinburgh
Clifton Hall School, Edinburgh
Craigholme School, Glasgow
Perth Academy, Perth
Hamilton Grammar School, South Lanarkshire
Wellington School, Ayr
Lenzie Academy, East Dunbartonshire
Our Lady & St Patrick's High School, Dumbarton
Dunfermline High School, Fife
Peebles High School, Peebles
Perth High School, Perth
Holyrood Secondary School, Glasgow

Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament

This year, our annual schools debating tournament will see 64 teams from across Scotland enter the first round, with just one team crowned the winner at the grand final.