CHSSA Rules are used at all CFL tournaments. They are also used as guidelines at non-CFL tournaments, though the tournament invitation may make adjustment to the rules. Most invitationals allow internet during preparation time, which goes against CHSSA rules, but otherwise generally rely on CHSSA. Below is the abridged set of rules. The complete set of rules can be found on the CHSSA website (see pages 56-57, 63-64).
Section 1. Rules for All Forms of Debate
C. Definition of ‘Speech Time’
1. Except for roadmaps, speech time begins as soon as the debater begins speaking. Thank-you’s count toward speech time.
2. Roadmaps do not count toward speech time, so long as:
- The roadmap is not to be argumentative in nature;
- The roadmap does not exceed 15 seconds.
D. Restriction of Communications
1. During a round, a debater shall not communicate through any method with anyone other than that debater’s partner (if applicable), the opposing debater(s), and the judge(s).
2. Oral prompting, except time signals, by the debater's partner while the debater has the floor, is discouraged though not prohibited and may be penalized by some judges.
3. A debater may, however, refer to their notes and materials and may consult with their partner while both they and their partner do not have the floor.
E. Electronic Retrieval Devices
1. A computer is defined as a laptop, netbook, iPad, or other portable electronic retrieval equipment. Devices such as flash drives or external hard drives are not considered computers.
2. Cellular phones/smart phones may be used during the round for the exclusive purpose of functioning as a timer (device must be put into airplane mode, and be incapable of receiving or sending correspondence). Penalty for violation of this rule shall be automatic forfeiture of the round by the offending side. Students must make all cell phones used as timers available for inspection by judges and/or tournament officials upon request. A cell phone/smartphone used as a timer shall not be counted as one of the computers/electronic retrieval devices allowed in a specific debate event.
3. Debaters shall not have access to or activate any electronic retrieval devices during the round, except those explicitly allowed by this article.
Section 4. Parliamentary Debate Rules.
A. Round Definition
1. A parliamentary debate team consists of two debaters.
2. A parliamentary debate round consists of one Government team debating against one Opposition team.
3. The Government team proposes a case to uphold the resolution. The Opposition team opposes the Government team’s case.
1. Resolutions will be announced by the tournament at the start of preparation time.
2. A different resolution will be used each round.
C. Round Format
1. Prime Minister Constructive (PMC): 7 minutes, given by the first Government speaker
2. Leader of Opposition Constructive (LOC): 8 minutes, given by the first Opposition speaker
3. Member of Government Constructive (MGC): 8 minutes, given by the second Government speaker
4. Member of Opposition Constructive (MOC): 8 minutes, given by the second Opposition speaker
5. Leader of Opposition Rebuttal (LOR): Rebuttal 4 minutes, given by the first Opposition speaker
6. Prime Minister Rebuttal (PMR): 5 minutes, given by the first Government speaker
D. Preparation Time
1. Debaters shall have 20 minutes of preparation time between the time the resolution is announced and the time debaters report to their judge(s).
2. The two partners may communicate with each other. Debaters are also allowed to communicate with tournament officials to clarify tournament logistics. Other than that, debaters are not allowed to communicate with anyone by any means during preparation time.
3. During preparation time, debaters may consult both physical and electronic copies of any written material, including both prepared notes and published sources. Debaters may use computers, as well as flash drives and external hard drives, to store and to retrieve written material. Debaters may not use phones during preparation time.
4. Debaters shall not access the internet during preparation time. All wireless capability in all electronic devices used during preparation time must be turned off. [This rule only applies to CFL tournaments. Most invitationals allow internet]
5. The penalty for violating clauses 2, 3, and 4 of this sub-section shall be automatic forfeit of the round by the offending team.
E. Round Rules
1. There is no preparation time between speeches. The next speaker must begin their speech (or their roadmap) within 20 seconds following the preceding speech.
2. Debaters are not allowed to access computers during the round after preparation time has ended.
3. After preparation time has ended, a debater is not allowed to access any written material except notes that were handwritten on paper by the debater or their partner after the resolution was announced.
4. Judges should disregard new arguments (including new responses) during rebuttal speeches, regardless of whether a Point of Order was raised. The exception is that the PMR may respond to new arguments made in the MOC. New analysis of prior arguments is allowed in rebuttal speeches.
E. Points of Information
1. A Point of Information (POI) is a single short question or statement addressed by a member of the opposing team to the debater who has the floor.
2. The debater who has the floor may accept or decline each POI at their discretion. Follow-up POIs are only allowed if separately recognized by the debater who has the floor.
3. POIs come out of the speech time of the debater who has the floor, so time should not be stopped for a POI. Each POI may not exceed 15 seconds.
4. POIs are only allowed in constructive speeches. POIs are not allowed in the first or last minute of any speech.
F. Points of Order
1. A debater may raise a Point of Order if they believe that the opposing team is bringing up a new argument in a rebuttal speech. Points of Order may not be used for any other purpose.
2. Points of Order are not allowed during constructive speeches but are allowed at any time during rebuttal speeches.
3. To raise a Point of Order, the debater shall state “Point of Order.” Time should then be immediately stopped. The debater then has 15 seconds to explain why an argument made by the opposing team is new.
4. The opposing team then has 15 seconds to respond to the Point of Order. Once the response is finished, time should immediately resume.
5. Debaters should not use Points of Order as a tactic to disrupt their opponent’s speech.
6. Judges should not announce their rulings on Points of Order during the round.
1. The intent of Parliamentary Debate is to encourage extemporaneous argumentation. Debaters should primarily rely on logic and general knowledge. Reference to published sources is allowed but should be limited.
2. A debater may refer to information from a published source during their speech. The debater must transcribe the full quotation this information is based on. The transcription must be done during preparation time, by hand, and without ellipses. The debater must then write down the citation and must say the citation during their speech. To the extent that these are provided by the original source, the citation should include the name(s) of the author(s), the source title, and the publication date.
3. The team which refers to information from a published source must show the opposing team the sheet of paper containing the quotation and citation if requested. The request can be made during a POI.