Meet the finalists.........

The semi-final rounds of the Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament 2020/21 took place remotely on Thursday, 18 March and Tuesday, 23 March and saw the return of the unseen motion. The motions were announced just one hour prior to the debate and participants were not permitted the use of technology books or other external sources to prepare. This year, semi-finalists in Heats A and B argued for and against the motion: 'This House would introduce positive discrimination to put more women in the Scottish Parliament' and pupils participating in Heats C and D debated the motion: 'This House would abolish prison for all but violent criminals'.

For the first time in its 22-year history, the tournament has taken place entirely online, due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the grand final taking place on Thursday, 10 June via the Society's video conferencing platform, Bluejeans.

Registered judges and pupils who participated in earlier rounds will be invited to attend and whilst, once again, it won't be the grand affair we are used to in the Debating Chamber of the Scottish Parliament, we are hoping it will still be a fantastic and exciting opportunity for our finalists and all pupils who are able to 'attend'.

The teams and pupils who made it through to our final are:

  • Thurso High School, Highland 
  • Fortrose Academy, Highland, 
  • Peebles High School, Borders
  • The Royal High School, Edinburgh 

If you are interested in entering a team for next year's tournament, please contact  If you're new to debating, please let us know and we can send you information relating to setting up a debate club at your school. In the meantime, the 2020/21 tournament winner will be announced soon, so stay tuned.  

Read our full semi-final press release.

Whether you are experienced or new to debating - get involved with Scotland's biggest high school debating competition today. Debating is a great way to not only start learning and developing new skills but it can also help to improve your public speaking skills and develop your self-confidence. David Blair, past participant and now a judge in the tournament, explains how being involved has helped him in his role as a solicitor.

Flip calendar

How the debate works

Learn about the Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament format, rules and timescales.

Information for teams

Find out how to enter a team for the debate and read case studies from past competitors.

Information for judges

Whether you're a law student, a trainee, a practicing or retired solicitor or just love debating, we'd love to hear from you!