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The ECGI Debate
"This House believes that the shareholder-oriented corporation is flawed"
11.00 - 12.15, Thursday 16 May 2013
This debate is conducted under the rules set out by the Oxford Union - see History of the Oxford Union and the Rules governing Oxford Union-style debates and took place at offices of PwC Dublin. It was open to ECGI members and interested members of the public.
The ECGI is grateful for the support of the Dublin office of PwC.

Debate programme | Video recording

Oxford Union-style debate
Notes for speakers and the audience

1. Opening Words by the Chairman

The Chairman, who should always be addressed as Mr/Madam Chairman, will open with a few words on the debate, floor debate and voting procedures. The Chairman will then call on the first speaker to begin the debate.

2. The First Speaker for the Proposition

It is the duty of the first speaker for the proposition to introduce the other guest speakers.

The traditional format for these introductions is to begin your speech with “Mr/Madam Chairman, as the first speaker this evening (afternoon) it is my honour to introduce your guests this evening (afternoon)”. Each speaker should then be introduced by name and with a short one or two line introduction, which can be either humorous or serious. After introducing the final guest the speaker may say “Mr/Madam Chairman, these are your guests and they are most welcome”, hopefully to be followed by applause from the audience.

The first speaker should then begin the debate.

The Chairman will thank the speaker and call upon the next speaker.

3. The First Speaker for the Opposition

The first speaker should then briefly introduce the first speaker for the proposition speaker at the beginning of his speech.

The Chairman will thank the speaker and open the debate from the floor.

4. Debate from the floor

This is the opportunity for the audience to join in the debate. A certain amount of time will be allocated to this and each speech will be limited to an agreed maximum length of time.

The Chairman will end the floor debate and call upon the next speaker.

5. The Second Speaker for the Proposition

The Chairman will thank the speaker and call upon the next speaker.

6. The Second Speaker for the Opposition

The Chairman will thank the speaker and call for the rebuttal speeches, if they are to be made

7. Rebuttal

Time may be allocated for a rebuttal by either side. The rebuttal speech is usually made by the first speaker for each side.

The Chairman will call an end to the debate and call for the voting to begin.

8. Voting

This would be by a show of hands or another voting procedure.



The audience may only a speech using a Point of Information or a Point of Order.

Point of Information: The speaker can choose to accept or refuse a point of information. This type of interruption should be used to clarify or question a point of information raised by the speaker, and not to express an opinion.

Point of Order: Speakers must give way to a point of order. Such an interruption must only be used to draw attention to an abuse of the Forms of the House, such as a slanderous remark that they wish to be withdrawn.

General Tips:

Remember that debating involves winning the votes of your audience, which can involve a lot more than simply making the best logical arguments. A few well-placed jokes or anecdotes can often win votes!

Don’t feel obliged to take every point of information offered – answering a few makes things a little more lively and interactive, but taking too many may interrupt the flow of your arguments.


Be sure to check what time restrictions are placed on speakers and ensure that you keep within that time. The audience will appreciate this, particularly when there are a large number of speakers in the debate. The amount of time you have left will be indicated to you by the Secretary on a printed card at regular intervals.