The Inner Temple Debating Society

The Inner Temple Debating Society is a student run society and welcomes members at all levels of experience. We run weekly sessions where you will be supported in your learning. We are an educational society, but we are also here to help support students through the Bar Course by improving your advocacy skills and the ability to think on your feet. A key aim of the society is to help you boost your CV for pupillage applications. We also host social events for society members which is a great networking opportunity amongst your peers.

There are countless opportunities to attend debating tournaments and the Inn is happy to support you in attending them. In previous years we have sent teams to tournaments at Oxford, Cambridge, UCL, Kings and Manchester. We are happy to send you to any and all tournaments as a beginner debater, because there is no better way to learn than by doing! We also send teams to the European Debating Championship (EUDC) and the Worlds Debating Championships (WDC), covering your travel and tournament costs. For these competitions we host tryouts and send the top speakers. Worlds tryouts are usually held in late November - early December, while Euros tryouts usually take place in May.

We also host the annual Inner Temple Inter-Varsity Debating Competition, where we host the top competitors on the debating circuit. As a member, you will have the opportunity to support the smooth running of the competition (which includes acting as a swing debater, which is a great opportunity to try your hand at debating in a competition) and get to see the mechanics of a large IV tournament.

The Society also runs the Inner Temple Public Speaking Competition and the Rawlinson Cup Debating Competition. Both of these competitions have several rounds of tryouts and/or knock-out rounds and culminate to a show final, judged by Benchers of the Inn.

Questions?

1. Competitions – We send debaters of all levels to a variety of tournaments, across the UK and abroad. The European Debating Competition (EUDC) and World Debating Competition (WDC) are international tournaments and you will have the opportunity to travel, with expenses covered, to attend the tournament. Last year WDC was in South Africa and EUDC was in Greece! 2. Advocacy – If you’re on the Bar Course you know how important it is to have strong advocacy skills. The Bar Course is difficult course and even if advocacy comes naturally to you, you can always improve your skills. Debate teaches you how to think on your feet and how to quickly construct an effective argument. This is obviously useful to your advocacy classes (think – judicial interventions) but it’s also useful for your other skills too, which usually have time pressures (eg, timed opinion writing). 3. Pupillage – We want to help you be a better advocate but we also want you to have something to show for it. Come build your CV and show that you’re interested in advocacy and committed to practising it in your spare time. Debating also helps make you a better interviewee for pupillage interviews, as it teaches you to analyse problems and think on your feet. 4. Networking – The Bar Course is hard enough. Joining a society is a great way to build a support network of people who are interested in debating and a career at the Bar. Come meet with fellow current and former students, while also gaining valuable skills. You will also get to meet and network with other university students at competitions. If that’s not enough, we have Masters of the Bench come to judge our competitions whenever possible. Last year, we were very fortunate to have the involvement of several esteemed Benchers at our events. The Rawlinson Cup was chaired by the Treasurer of the Inn, and the Public Speaking competition was judged by the Reader of the Inn, both of whom gave excellent feedback to our competitors.
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.
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!
We start the year doing British Parliamentary Style (BP), which we do all first term. After the holidays we swap to Rawlinson Style debating, which is a style that is unique to the Inn and allows you to be a bit more creative and focus on exploring and improving your advocacy style. After the Rawlinson Cup is held, we return to BP for the remainder of the year in preparation for Euros. We will explain both styles of debating to you in detail, as well as all of the debating positions.
We meet every Wednesday at 6:30pm during term time. Our usual room this year is in 3KBW, although we will occasionally be in Mitre Court A due to scheduling conflicts. For the first few months we are happy to meet you in a central location and walk with you to the rooms for any new joiners. At the beginning of the year we are usually recruiting for leadership roles, including Treasurer, Social Secretary and VP External. Please reach out to us if you are interested in applying to any of these roles. We mainly update on the Facebook group (linked below) so please join the group there to receive updates on weekly meetings and competitions.

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The Inner Temple Debating Society

The Inner Temple Debating Society

The Inner Temple Debating Society