1. The name of this competition is the Joutes Oratoires: French Language Debating Competition.
2. The object of the competition is to promote excellence in debating skills in the French language.
3. The competition is organised and managed by a steering committee appointed by the Conseil d’Administration of the Alliance Francaise, Dublin.
4. The competition is open to all second level schools in Ireland.
5. The competition will take the general form of a knock out competition.

Conditions of entry

8. Each school can submit only one team.
9. Team members must:

– have completed their Junior Certificate Examination.
– not be born in a French-speaking country.
– not have a parent/guardian whose mother tongue is French.
– not having lived in a francophone environment for more than 2 years.
– not be a previous winner.


10. A team will comprise four (4) students. One substitute per team will be allowed throughout all stages of the competition.


11. The allocated time for each speaker will be three (3) minutes. A bell will be rung to signal two minutes and again to signal the end of the allocated time of three minutes. A speaker exceeding the allocated time will incur a penalty of five (5) marks per excessive minute or part thereof.


12. The team in favour of the motion will sit on the right-hand side of the Chairperson and its Captain will propose the motion. Each of the team members will then speak alternately. The Captain of the team opposing the motion will then summarise, followed by the Captain in favour of the motion.


13. All speeches should open with a formal acknowledgement of the Chair, adjudicators and opponents. Team captains should clearly define the motion and set out the team’s approach and interpretation of the topic. Prompt cards may be used. Reading speeches from a prepared text is not permitted. French must be used exclusively.

Late arrival

14. A team arriving half an hour late for the Competition will be disqualified.

Refutation and Rebuttal

15. Teams must engage in the essential debating skills of refutation and rebuttal.


16. Heckling will be allowed from one team member only, at any one time. The speaker is the only person who has the right to respond to a heckle.


17. The adjudicating panel will comprise three (3) to five (5) persons. Each adjudicator must give a decision in favour of one team and the panel must agree the winning team and the best speaker.


18. It is the responsibility of the Chairperson to:
– Ensure the teams sign the attendance document
– Act as master of ceremonies
– Ensure that teams adhere to competition rules
– Give directives to teams and adjudicators, if appropriate
– Give a directive to the Timekeeper, if appropriate
– Announce the winning team and best speaker.

19. The Chairperson may delegate/appoint assistants.


20. A cup will be awarded to the winning team and winners’ medals for each of the team members. The runners-up will receive medals.
21. A medal will also be awarded to the best speaker in each debate.

Rules for the online debate:

  • Students should wear their uniform or their school’s crest to clearly define which team they belong to. 
  • Each speaker will access Zoom at the president’s invitation by clicking on the Zoom link that the AF will provide by email to each individual team member 30’ before the beginning. The same will apply for the judges.
  • When all the speakers are on screen the President will formally welcome the speakers to the finale. If one of the speaker disconnects during the call, the debate will be paused and the speakers and the jury will wait for the candidate to return. 
  • Everyone except the speakers and the President must remain silent throughout the whole debate. Their mic will be muted by the administrator and should remain muted for the duration of the debate. If they wish to clap at the end of a discourse or to welcome a speaker, they might do so by using the clap button on their zoom screen (Go to Reaction => Clap Clap)
  • Each team member will speak for the allotted time. Only the speaker allowed to speak will have his mic on. All the other mic will be muted so that all speakers can listen to all the other speakers’ speeches.
  • If team members wish to communicate between us, they can talk in private in the chat (be aware that you can only communicate with one person in the chat and not in group).
  • The bell will be rang by the administrator (with an application online)
  • If a speaker wishes to intervene, he can use the bouton “raise your hand” on zoom and the President will allow her/him to speak.
  • The adjudicators will listen to the debate and mark the speakers in the usual manner although.
  •  At the end of the speeches, the teams will have 3 minutes to prepare their « résumés », they will be allocated to two different breakout rooms opened by the administrator and will be automatically redirected to the debate at the end of the 3 minutes.
  •  Once the debate is over, the adjudicators will leave the zoom call to the breakout rooms opened by the administrator to deliberate and discuss and confer. They will return to the Zoom call once this is over.
  •  While the adjudicators deliberate, everyone should remain on the Zoom call.