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The Inner Temple Debating Society

The Inner Temple Debating Society welcomes members at all levels of experience. The Inn participates in practically every Inter-Varsity tournament including those held at Oxford, Cambridge, Dublin and St Andrews to name but a few. The Inner Temple also hosts its own Inter-Varsity which has became one of the highlights of the debating social calendar and attended by debaters from all over the world. In years past the society has sent teams to tournaments all over the world, including the European and World Championships, for which the Inn has provided all travel costs.

The society also regularly hosts the Inner Temple Inter-Varsity Debating Competition, one of the most prestigious competitions on the debating circuit.

What is debating?

Debating is the process of critically analysing and evaluating argument in a structured way. While debating is about speaking persuasively, it is more importantly about thinking logically. At Inner Temple we are fortunate to be part of a global British Parliamentary debating circuit. In this format, each debate is stylised as a hypothetical House of Commons debate, both procedurally and linguistically. A debate consists of four teams: two teams in proposition (the Government bench), and two teams in opposition to the motion (the opposition bench). There are two speakers in a team.

The object of the debate is to use your skills of advocacy, wit and strategy to convince the judges of your case. Do so and you win. Motions are similarly stylised on the House of Commons, e.g. ‘This House Would Nationalise the Banks’. Teams are given fifteen minutes to prepare their cases once the motion is announced. Because motions can be on literally any topic of any significance – from war with Iran to art history and from the abolition of wigs and gowns to the restoration of debtors prisons. – we aim only to provide you with the underlying skills to deconstruct an issue, apply your knowledge effectively and construct a water-tight case.

Why debate?

Being an active part of the Inner Temple debating squad hold numerous benefits. We compete regularly in many of the world’s most prestigious tournaments, including the World and European Championsips (held over the Christmas and Summer vacations respectively). If selected, we are fortunate to be able to meet your travel and registration expenses. In recent years we have sent members to World Championships in Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, and will this year send a delegation to Istanbul. Next year we will send a further delegation to compete in the 2011 Botswana World Championships. Debating therefore provides a fantastic opportunity to see places and meet people from all over the world.

Moreover, pupillage providers generally regard having represented your Inn at a national or international debating competition as among the best CV experience. It demonstrates a commitment to and proficiency in advocacy beyond the four corners of the BPTC. Not only is the experience useful for your CV, it is inherently worthwhile for the skills you will develop: to think quickly and analytically; to speak with confidence; and to apply your knowledge of the world to a range of factual scenarios.

Do you need to have had debating experience to join the debating society?

Not at all. The Inn welcomes all levels of debaters from those who have never debated formally or otherwise to those who have participated in major debating events. Wherever possible the Inn sends both a novice and experienced team to every debating event including the European and World debating tournaments. For those who are new to debating the Inner Temple debating society runs workshops, run by experienced debaters, taking you through all the debating rules and regulations!

How do I get involved?

We hold training sessions in Inner Temple every Tuesday at 6.30pm in the Advocacy Suite, One Paper Buildings. Whether you’re a world champion or a complete novice, and whether you want to compete regularly or simply attend the occasional workshop, we aim to provide training and feedback that is both critical and constructive.

For information or to find out how to get involved, please contact the Debating Society directly at inner.debating@gmail.com or find us on twitter @InnerTDebating.

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