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Local pupils win through to national debate tournament semi-finals

05 February 2016 | tagged News release

Local school pupils have battled their way to the semi-finals of the Law Society of Scotland’s national debating tournament after arguing the cases for and against paying compensation for historical injustices.

Of the 128 teams that entered the Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament, 16 teams from schools across Scotland are now preparing to take part in the semi-finals after debating the motion ‘This House believes that compensation should be paid for the injustices committed by past generations’ in the second round heats.

Over 100 Scottish schools pit their wits against each other in the opening rounds of the competition as they debated whether the internet does more harm than good. The second round prompted dynamic discussion from the 61 remaining teams but the semi-finals step the competition up a notch as the students are only presented with the motion an hour before the debate takes place.

Laura Gulliver, Head of Careers and Outreach at the Law Society, said: "The semi-finals are very tricky as the teams have just one hour to prepare after receiving the motion. They are not permitted access to any newspapers, computers or smartphones during that time. It really tests their skills as debaters.

“We’ve had a fantastic start to this year’s Donald Dewar Debating Tournament and all of the pupils have done really well to get this far, especially those from schools taking part for the first time. I’m looking forward to seeing how the teams think on their feet in the semi-finals.”

The semi-finals of the competition take place in March before the final which will take place in the debating chamber of the Scottish Parliament in June.

The Law Society awards the first prize of £1,000 and the top two teams will share educational books to the value of £500 donated by the event sponsor, Hodder Gibson.

Further information and a Law Society video about the tournament featuring the 2013/14 winners and runners up can be found at

All schools through to the semi-finals are listed below:

16 of the original 128 teams, including two teams from both Braes High and Craigmount High School, have qualified for the semi-finals which will take place in March. Schools taking part for the first time are marked *.

Name of School


Braes High School


Braes High School


Charleston Academy*


Craigmount High School


Craigmount High School


Dunfermline High School


Holy Cross High School


King's Park Secondary


Marr College


Nairn Academy


Robert Gordon's College


Saint Peter the Apostle High School*


St Aloysius' College


St Andrew's and St Bride's High

East Kilbride

St. Maurice's High School


The Royal High School





Notes to editors: Established in 1999 and now in its 15th year, the Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament is Scotland’s largest annual schools debating tournament and is open to pupils in all Scottish secondary schools. Organised and run by the Law Society of Scotland, the tournament is dedicated to the memory of the former First Minister Donald Dewar MSP, who died in 2000.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Please contact Sarah Sutton at / 0131 476 8170 or Val McEwan at / 0131 226 8884


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