Pupils from schools in Dundee, Glasgow and St Andrews have earned their places in the final of the Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament, having pitted their wits against schools across the country.

Just four of the original 128 teams that entered the Law Society’s national debating tournament, will take part in the final of the competition. To get to this stage of the competition, the semi-finals saw students tackle a variety of topics including the prioritisation of public safety over the right to strike; state compensation for victims of crimes committed by reoffenders; punishing parents for crimes committed by their children and the rise of social media as the primary source of news distribution.

The finalists are:

  • Ivan Kapelyukh and Steven Roy from the High School of Dundee (Dundee)
  • Honor Johnstone and Mahee Mustafa from Kelvinside Academy (Glasgow)
  • Lawrence Brown and Ewan Redpath from Madras College (St. Andrews)
  • Arun Smith and Matthew McIlree from Douglas Academy (Milngavie)

Four pupils were identified as having delivered the best floor speeches and presented with a £10 book token each. They were:

  • Ross Dunbar from Thurso High School (Thurso)
  • Luke Laverty from St Andrew’s and St Brides (East Kilbride)
  • Lyness West from James Gillespie’s High School (Edinburgh)
  • Calum Silcock from Douglas Academy (Milngavie)

Teams from 85 Scottish schools put their powers of persuasion to the test in the opening rounds of the competition and the second round prompted heated discussion from the remaining teams, but the competition ramped up a notch in the semi-finals as the students were only presented with the motion one hour before the debate began.

Liz Campbell, Executive Director of Education, Training & Qualifications at the Law Society, said: "We have had a fantastic tournament so far this year and the tension is really mounting as we approach the final.

“In the semi-finals, our competitors only get sight of the motion one hour before the debate kicks off, so their ability to think quickly is put to the test.  They are not allowed access to newspapers, computers or smartphones in that final hour – quite a departure in this digital age.

“Getting to the final of this year’s Donald Dewar Debating Tournament is quite an accomplishment and I’m looking forward to hearing what the teams have to say when they take to the floor in the grand setting of the Scottish Parliament’s debating chamber.”

The final of this year’s competition will take place in the debating chamber of the Scottish Parliament on 8 June.

The Law Society will donate £1,000 to the winning team and the Glasgow Bar Association will donate £250 to the runner up for their schools.  The top two teams will share £500 worth of educational books presented by tournament sponsors Hodder Gibson.