Parli – WSD

What is Parliamentary Debate?

Parliamentary (Parli) debate is a British style debate that is gaining popularity worldwide. So much so that it has been adopted as the official style of the high school level World School Debate Championship (WSDC), college level World Universities Debating Championshipand the European Universities Debating Championship. In fact, the U.S. National Speech & Debate Association (NSDA) has longtime been partnering with WSDC and hosted 2017 WSDC in the U.S. as below:


Unique benefits to learning Parli & Its Structure

  1. It forces students’ have better teamwork as its 1 team consists of  a minimum of 3 – a maximum of 6 people.
  2. It compels students’ to think fast on their feet because at least half of their debate topics is released about 15 minutes before the round.
  3. It improves students’ impromptu speaking ability because their topic is different each round. 
Each debate round has two three-person-teams. The first speakers of each sides deliver the constructives either representing the Government or the Opposition Party.  Then the second speakers of the each sides rebuts, and the third speakers of the each sides concludes.  Speeches are usually between five and seven minutes in duration as below: 

Prime Minister Constructive (PMC): 7 minutes
Leader of the Opposition Constructive (LOC): 8 minutes 
Member of the Government Constructive (MG or MGC): 8 minutes
Member of the Opposition Constructive (MO or MOC): 8 minutes 
Leader of Opposition Rebuttal (LOR): 4 minutes 
Prime Minister Rebuttal (PMR): 5 minutes 

WSDC-Speaker Role & Points Rubric_Page_1
WSDC-Speaker Role & Points Rubric_Page_2

How is British Parli Debate Different from the U.S. PF, LD, Policy Debate?

No Crossfire, but POI: Unlike the U.S. Style debate such as PF, LD, and Policy, there is no designated time for “crossfire” in the Parliamentary debate. Instead, all speakers are expected to interrupt their opponents’ speech with Points of Information (POIs). However, the POIs are usually rejected by saying “no thank you,” except for about 2 times average during the 5-8 minute speech, each POI usually lasting no more than 30 seconds.

Less Stress on Evidence, More about Persuasion: Successful Parli debaters are eloquent and cogent speakers who don’t rely on evidence very much. In fact, they cannot, as their topics (motions) are given to them 15 minutes before a debate round, making it impossible to research in advance. Thus, even for preannounced motions, Judges also hardly ever check the debaters’ evidence for credibility. 

Speech Style is #1 Voting Issue: Judges are trained to award more points for speech style – i.e., fluency, volume, organization, and even humor –  as opposed to argumentation. This doesn’t mean argumentation is not important, as it is also an important voting issue for Parli. However, compared to the U.S. style debate, there is less emphasis on evidence and research. 

ADL’s First Success with Parli at 2017 NSDA – WSD Invitational

Coached by Julian Gagnon, ADL’s first WSD team participated in 2017 WSD Invitational hosted by NSDA, and ranked the top international team with a record of 3:3. In fact, this was the best ever record for Taiwan WSD team, as prior teams’ best record was never higher than 2:4 in the world stage. Team members (Brandon Chen, Kelly Phil, Gene Chou, Eliot Wang) qualified by winning in PF event in 2017 NSDA Taiwan District Tournament. 

2017 WSD – NSDA Motions (as an example)


Round 1: This House regrets the rise of alternative media.
Round 2: This House supports compulsory climate science education in secondary schools.
Round 3: Impromptu Motion
Round 4: This House would increase sanctions on Russia.
Round 5: Impromptu Motion
Round 6: Impromptu Motion


Double Octafinals: This House believes that the commercialization of feminism has been detrimental to the movement.
Octafinals: Impromptu Motion
Quarterfinals: Impromptu Motion
Semifinals: Impromptu Motion

Finals: This House regrets the rise of global populism.