Holyrood Final for Dewar Debaters


The right to be forgotten online will be the subject of debate on Thursday evening as some of the most talented young debaters in Scotland take part in the final of the 2016 Law Society of Scotland Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament.

It is the culmination of a tournament which involved 128 teams from schools across Scotland. Along the way, pupils have debated subjects ranging from the introduction of measures to promote women in government to the criminalisation of tobacco smoking.

Deputy Presiding Officer, Linda Fabiani MSP will chair the final in Holyrood’s debating chamber and the teams taking part are:

  • The Royal High School (Edinburgh) – Laura Wood and Sarah Gardner
  • St Maurice's High School (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) - Adam McGirr and Paul Hansen
  • Braes High School (Falkirk East) - Ross Heenan and Andrew Buchan
  • Nairn Academy (Inverness and Nairn) - Caitlin Sherrett and Finlay Allmond                           

Speaking ahead of the final, Deputy Presiding Officer Linda Fabiani MSP said:

“I am looking forward to welcoming the finalists, their supporters and competition organisers to the Scottish Parliament for what promises to be an exciting evening of debate.

“All of the finalists deserve congratulations having come through a tough series of heats and semi-finals. It will be a pleasure to host the Grand Final of the Dewar Debating competition in Holyrood’s Debating Chamber.”

The event will be webcast live on the Parliament’s website from 18.30 to 21.50 (www.scottish.parliament.uk/tv) on Thursday 9 June.

Established in 1999, Scotland’s largest annual schools debating tournament is open to pupils in all Scottish secondary schools. The competition aims to promote an understanding of the importance of debate, advocacy and communication to the legal profession, democracy and society at large. Organised and run by the Law Society of Scotland, the tournament is dedicated to the memory of the late First Minister Donald Dewar MSP.

Eilidh Wiseman, president of the Law Society, said:

“It has been a fantastic tournament once again and all four teams who have reached the final are to be congratulated, particularly when you consider just how many teams took part in the opening rounds and the calibre of our competitors. They have done incredibly well.

“It’s a real honour to be able to host the tournament final in the debating chamber of the Parliament again this year and I’m sure it will be an experience our finalists will never forget.”

The winning school will receive a trophy and prize of £1,000, donated by the Law Society of Scotland, and runners-up will receive £250, donated by The Glasgow Bar Association. All finalists receive individual Quaichs and certificates to commemorate their success.  This year’s sponsors Hodder Gibson is donating educational books to the value of £500, to be shared by the winning and runner-up school.

In addition to this a prize of £50 worth of book vouchers will be awarded for the best floor speech of the night.

The judges for the event are:

  • Irene McGrath, Chair of the Scottish Schools International Debating Council.
  • Jon Dye, former Chairman of the English Speaking Union
  • John Carson, former English teacher and debate coach
  • Willie Rennie MSP
  • Mark McDonald MSP

Katy Cameron, from the Law Society’s  Education and Training team, said:

“This is now the largest schools debating tournament in Scotland. Winning a place in the final is no small feat and the teams have done tremendously well. All of our finalists have excelled in presenting their arguments at each stage of the tournament and should be very proud of what they have achieved.”


Photographs of the event will be available free of charge. Please contact the Scottish Parliament photographer Andrew Cowan on 0131 348 5878.

Contact information

Members of the media should contact:

Public information

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