Hong Kong; Joint School Debating Society


The Hong Kong Joint School Debating Society Constitution is the policy that all members (Executive Committee, General Committee) and involved schools follow. This is the latest copy of the constitution for 2000-2001.



The HKJSDS is a government recognised, non-profit making organisation.

The HKJSDS is governed and operated by the Executive committee (Exco) which is run completely by students, headed by a chairman, selected by the Exco of previous year.


The new Exco is not bound by any commitments or decisions made by the Exco of the previous year.  

Exco members may only resign with written approval from his/her school’s teacher-in-charge, clearly explaining the reasons for resigning.

Exco meetings shall be held whenever the Chair (or the vice-chair in the absence of the Chair) deems it necessary. However, the Exco is entitled by a majority vote to hold or postpone any Exco meeting whenever it sees fit.

The Exco may appoint sub-committees from time to time for activities connected with the society.

The Exco may appoint teacher advisors to request their opinions or assistance on any matter concerning the society. The current Exco shall make the selection of these advisors for the advisory board annually after the first Exco meeting. However, the Exco will not be obliged to accept or act upon their assistance or opinions.

The Exco shall be responsible for the handling of expenses and liabilities of the society incurred during the term of office of these Exco members.

Exco members will chair the debates. Exco members will not chair a debate if one of the competing teams is from the school they attend.  The chairing Exco member at any debate has the final decision as to which school has won the debate.

The Exco shall have the sole right of interpreting this constitution.  Exco also reserves the right to review and revise the Constitution when deemed necessary.  


PLEASE NOTE that Genco members of the schools requested to host a debate are expected to attend as timekeepers and assistants at the match.

Genco members of the hosting school are also responsible for making suitable venue arrangements, finding 3 adjudicators from their own school, and greeting/directing guests at the school entrance.

Genco representatives are responsible for attending any Genco meetings that may be called by Exco. Both representatives do not necessarily have to attend, but it is their responsibility to keep their schools and debate teams informed of the proceedings.


The annual subscription fee for membership for the HKJSDS is $500, which shall be used to pay the costs of running this society and organising its activities. Members of the Exco are not allowed to take any share of the profits. Any surplus will be forwarded to next year’s Exco.

Each school will supply 3 adjudicators per debate, of which at least 1 adjudicator is a teacher or other kind of professional.  All adjudicators should be familiar with debating procedures, protocol, and mark allocation.


Schools will be divided up into groups of 4 schools and debates will proceed in a round robin fashion within their given group.  The two winners from each group will then be entered into the quarterfinals.  The winner from each of the quarterfinal debates will be entered into the semi-finals and so forth.

The number of votes from the adjudicators will determine the results of the debates.  Votes will be awarded to the team with the higher points.

Exco will inform the competing schools about the exact date, time, and venue ten days prior to the match.  Schools will be notified about motions 10 days before the actual debate in the preliminary round.  However, this period of notification is subject to change as the competition progresses.

Each competing team will consist of a captain, 3 speakers, and 2 designated floor speakers.  The captain of the affirmative side will go first, followed by the captain of the negative side.  Subsequent speakers will then deliver their speeches until all have spoken.  Floor speakers will pose their questions just prior to the concluding speeches.

Speakers will be penalised for going overtime. Each adjudicator will deduct:  
- 2 marks for an overtime of 10-20 seconds  
- 4 marks for an overtime of 21-30 seconds  
- 6 marks for an overtime greater than 30 seconds

Captains are allowed 3 minutes for each of their speeches and regular speakers are allowed 3 minutes.

Each team must provide 1 designated speaker to pose one question to the opposing side.  Each floor speaker will speak for 30 seconds and must conclude with a question. Teams will have minutes to prepare and respond. This time can be divided in any way the speakers wish. Captains may incorporate this session into their concluding speeches.

No visual aids are allowed. Only written speeches are to be held when the speaker is presenting his/her speech.

Following the floor question session, each team will be allowed 2 minutes to prepare their closing argument. The captain of the negative side shall go first, followed by the affirmative side.

Each school may only postpone a debate once during the course of the competition, and ONLY in dire circumstances. Schools who break this regulation risk disqualification.

Competing schools are required to arrive at the appointed of their debate punctually. Any team that is over 30 minutes late shall be disqualified.

If, in the opinion of the Exco, the conduct of any school member is prejudicial to the interests of the society, the Exco reserves the right to ask that school to resign.

Approved by Kai Yuen Wong
Chairperson of HKJSDS (2000-2001)