Basics of Judging British Parliamentary Debate

This sheet is just a basic explanation of how to judge BP debating; complementary experience judging and debating in BP rounds is essential.

Your Role: judges need to rank teams from 1 to 4 (1 is best) and assign speaker points to every speaker. You need to take notes and determine your method/reasons for ranking teams in the specific round.The chair needs to deliver a reason for decision to the teams.

Teams and speakers in a BP Debate

First Proposition:

First Speaker:  7 minutes

Second Speaker:  7 minutes

First Opposition:

First Speaker: 7 minutes

Second Speaker: 7 minutes

Second Proposition:

First Speaker:  7 minutes

Summary/Whip Speaker:  7 minutes

Second Opposition:

First Speaker:  7 minutes

Summary/Whip Speaker: 7 minutes

Key Differences between judging BP and CP:

  • Debaters need to provide relevant examples and apply their knowledge of the topic.
  • Debaters who use information to construct deep arguments are rewarded.
  • More constructive and analysis burden for second speakers.
  • There should be an equal balance between speakers in the first half.

A longer debate means debaters have to keep your arguments alive and relevant throughout the debate. They need to differentiate their team.

How to Approach the Adjudication:

  • Keep track of arguments brought up by each speaker on each team, and whose arguments they dealt with in refutation.
  • Look at your notes to determine role fulfillment on each speaker’s part.
  • Which team stood out the most throughout the debate? Who was in there the whole time, clashing and constructing?

On a panel, decide what the major issues of the round are. Look at who brought those issues up, and who kept them relevant. Reward teams who added the most to the debate and defended their arguments.

Role Fulfillment

In BP, this is important. In a messy round, panels often focus on role fulfillment to distinguish between teams. Sometimes 1 and 4 are obvious but 2 and 3 are not. Here, you can draw differences between the 2 and 3 teams by who did the best job that they were supposed to do.

Note: the point of BP debating is not just to fill a role, but everyone has a specific role and with four teams, it is not always obvious or easily decided who won. This fulfillment is one of the factors that should be considered, alongside constructive material, refutation, and depth of comments.

First Prop: needs to provide a clear model and have arguments that last to the end of the round. They need to stay active in the back half of the round.

First Opp: needs to set up a convincing Opp case and defeat (or bring doubt unto) Pro’s model. They need to stay active in the back half of the round.

Second Prop: needs to provide a clear extension (that you decide is valid), and improve the quality of the debate. They need to provide a summary of the round that is on target and convincing. They need to have been active in the first half of the round

Second Opp: needs to continue bringing new opp constructive to the round, and defeat (or bring doubt unto) the prop extension. They need to been active in the first half of the round. They need to provide a summary of the round that is on target and convincing.

Points of Information:

One way to keep track of POI’s is to draw ticks next to someone’s name each time they get up and circling the ticks when they get accepted. Try to separate POIs in first half from those in back half.

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