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The Great Medico-Legal Debate 2023

Picture of reproductive health supplies


Moot Court Room


Wed 29 March 2023

The Mason Institute is delighted to announce the Great Medico-Legal Debate for 2023, a debate series featuring teams from Glasgow universities against Edinburgh universities debating on reproduction, medicine and the law.

General Note: If you wish to register to come along as an audience member, then please register with Eventbrite. However, if you are considering taking part as a member of one of the debate teams, then please read on for some further information about what this will involve and how to reserve your place on a team.

Information for potential debate team members

We are delighted that you are considering taking part as a debate team member for the Great Medico-Legal Debate 2023. Below is some additional information that we hope will help to inform your decision.

If you are a University student (undergraduate or LLM) at the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier, Strathclyde, University of Glasgow, or Glasgow Caledonian, and would like to join a team, please send an email to, copied to and as soon as possible, as multidisciplinary teams will be selected on a first come, first served basis.

We will aim to respond to all expressions of interest, and you will be informed in due course whether or not you have been selected for a team. If not, we will operate a waiting list, and hope that you will come along to support your colleagues and form part of the voting audience!

Information for potential participants

This is provisional and further, confirmed information will follow nearer the date of the debate

Date: Wednesday 29th March 2023, 5:30-8:30pm (including reception).

Venue: Moot Court Room, Old College

Organisers: Your key contacts for this event are Alison Britton, Professor of Healthcare & Medical Law, Rachel Bond, Lecturer in Law, both of Glasgow Caledonian University, and Ruby Reed-Berendt, Research Associate and PhD candidate at Edinburgh Law School.

Great Medico-Legal Debate 2023 theme: Reproduction, medicine and the law

Issues surrounding reproduction and legal regulation are a persistent feature in medical law and ethics and the national news. Recent examples include, to name a few, Ted Jennings receiving permission from the UK Courts to use embryos created with his deceased wife, and the overturning of Roe v Wade in the US, or the birth of twins in China whose genomes had been edited. These issues raise questions about the role of law in regulating reproduction, especially with the growth of new technologies to assist conception and neonatal care. For this year’s Great Medico-Legal Debate, a competition will take place between teams of three students, debating various questions on the broader theme of “Reproduction and the Law” in the medical legal context.

This will take the form of a “knockout” format, with a final round between the best two Edinburgh and Glasgow teams. Teams from Glasgow and from Edinburgh will debate a different motion for each round on the broad theme of reproduction, with topics touching on the issues mentioned above. This means that each team should prepare for up to three different debate motions, depending on whether they advance to the next (and final) rounds. A coin toss will decide which team will debate on which side.

Teams: Each team captain will lead a team consisting of three members, comprised of law students and medical students. The teams will be selected on a first come, first served basis, although the organisers will aim to ensure that the teams are multidisciplinary and include both undergraduate and postgraduate students. The organiser’s decision on team selections are final.

Team captains: The team captains for each team will be responsible for organising team meetings, practice sessions and liaising with the Mason Institute and Glasgow Caledonian University to discuss debate logistics. Team captains are selected by each team.

Format: Each round of debating is anticipated to last around 30 minutes, with the first round commencing at 5.30pm (with a wine and food reception to follow the Final debate).

The format for each debate round will be:

  • Team member 1 for will open their arguments (5 min)
  • Team member 1 against will open their arguments (5 min)
  • Team member 2 for will respond to team member 1 against (5 min)
  • Team member 2 against will respond to team members 1 & 2 for (5 min)
  • Team member 3 for will summarise (5 min)
  • Team member 3 against will summarise (5 min)

This equates to 5 minutes oral debate time for each team member, which makes each debate last approximately 30 minutes.

The Great Medico-Legal Debate is not a traditional moot – the chairs will not interrupt the arguments of either team and team members may not respond outwith the allocated response timings (to follow in due course). There will be a timekeeper to let each speaker know when they have 1 minute left and also when their time has finished. A member of the academic or legal community will be invited to act as the impartial, expert judge to determine the victor.

This event is hybrid.

Attend in person: Register via Eventbrite [external link]

Attend virtually: Register via Zoom [external link]



Photo by Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition on Unsplash