Pinsent Masons hosts annual schools debate

19 Nov 2015 | 03:51 pm | 1 min. read

International law firm Pinsent Masons has joined up with ELBA to host a debating tournament for children from economically deprived areas around London. A number of Pinsent Masons’ clients participated in the event including BP, Zurich, Bouygues, ISG and Costain.

Eight schools from Newham and Waltham Forest each submitted a team to compete in the competition, which took place at Pinsent Masons international headquarters in London on Friday 13 November.

The teams debated one of several motions on issues that affect young people, being -


  • No postings and/or commentaries on the internet should be anonymous;
  • Curfews should be introduced for young people;
  • The minimum voting age in England should be reduced to 16; and
  • The minimum legal driving age should be raised to 18.


The final debate, of the motion ‘surveillance is nothing to worry about if you have nothing to hide’, was won by a team of students from Plashet school in Newham.

The judging panel for the competition was chaired by The Rt Hon Lord Justice Floyd, who was joined on the panel by Anne Sheffield, EMEA General Counsel of Alix Partners, and Pinsent Masons Senior Partner Richard Foley.

Prior to the event, volunteers from Pinsent Masons and prominent businesses taking part supported the school teams with coaching sessions.

The initiative has been put together in association with the East London Business Alliance as part of its 'Business Action Groups for Schools’ (BAGS) programme.

Pinsent Masons Senior Partner, Richard Foley, says, "This is the second year we have run this event and like last year it has been great fun and truly inspirational. The commitment the pupils made in terms of preparation, thought and inspiration was outstanding. These children have a real talent for debating and I hope that the event will have given them a lot of confidence, and maybe even a taste for a career in law and advocacy.”  

ELBA’s Chief Executive, Liam Kane, commented, “We are delighted to join with Pinsent Masons for this, the second year of the debating competition.  The competition highlights the benefits of ELBA's Business Action Group for Schools programme in joining business and schools together to raise the aspirations and skills of young people."

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