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SCOTTISH pupils with a talent for talking are encouraged to enter the Law Society of Scotland annual debating tournament.

Up to 128 teams can compete in the opening rounds of the ‘Donald Dewer Memorial Debating Tournament’ and the Law Society is encouraging those that may be new to debating, as well as those with previous experience, to take part in the 2012-2013 competition.

Heather McKendrick, education and training development officer at the Law Society expands: “We always have a fantastic response from school debating teams right across the country but we also want to encourage those schools which may be fairly new to debating and competing to enter.

“There’s every chance that they can follow in the footsteps of some of our previous contestants and make it right through to the final as it’s not necessarily those teams with most experience who take home the cup!”

She continued: “Debating is good fun and it also helps pupils gain new skills and confidence in putting forward cohesive and persuasive arguments, which is not only useful for their studies at school and beyond, but throughout their working lives.”

Publishers Hodder Gibson remain as tournament sponsors this year and donate educational books to the value of £500 which are shared between the winners and runners up.

The winners also receive the tournament trophy and £1,00 for their school.

Solicitors and anyone with experience of debating can also get involved if they are interested in acting as a judge at the opening and regional heats, particularly at schools in rural areas.

Ms McKendrick adds: “We’re always keen to recruit new judges for the opening rounds too and local solicitors or people with debating experience can also contact us if they are interested in getting involved.”

For further information about entering the tournament or becoming a tournament judge, please contact debate@lawscot.org.uk

The closing date for tournament entry is October 19th, with the first competition heats due to start in November. More information about competing and online registration can be found in the ‘schools’ section under ‘education and careers’ on the Society’s website at www.lawscot.org.uk