Chief Judge

Dear Chief Judge,

Thank you for taking up the role on 24 September.

The Main Document You Will Need

Overview of the Role of the Chief Judge.

Surprisingly, you do NOT judge the speakers! Your role is more quality assurance to ensure that the arrangements to regulate the meeting are all in place. You guarantee fairness and impartiality. 

Your appoint various roles but, for this competition, we have sought to get these people into place for you and you’ll be notified who they are. You’ll need to be comfortable with the appointees to these roles.  You’ll need to meet them at the beginning of the meeting; more on that in a moment.

The following roles in the meeting report to you, as Chief Judge:

Start of the Meeting

The Competition Chair will open the meeting to welcome visitors and guests. Then the Competition Chair will adjourn the meeting.

Your Chief Judge’s Briefing

At this point you will hold a 10-15 minute briefing with the Judges, Counters, Timers and Tiebreaking judge. You may need to go to another room. Liaise with the Competition Chair.

What will you discuss?

Simply, go through the list (we’ll send you) of the people assigned to the roles. You’ll see tabs (with links above.) Read those and the documents.

Your Briefing to  the Judges/Tie-breaking Judge

You will be given a copy of the Form 1170 which are signed by the judges to declare their impartiality. Keep a list of your judges and tick off those that have signed the declaration. If there are last minute changes keep a Form 1170 handy and ask any new judges to sign it.

Then remind the judges of their duties:

  • To be totally impartial and objective and give their own view.
  • They can sit where they like. It’s better that they don’t sit together and shouldn’t speak to anyone about the speeches.
  • The scoring sheets (Form 1191/1191A for Tie-breaking Judge) should be used but, ultimately, it is their decision who is the best speaker. The scoring sheets ensure best practice. Remind them to tear off the lower part of Form 1191 and sign it.  They keep the top part.   Then the signed lower part to you, Chief Judge, just before the break. Similarly, Form 1180/1180A should be used for Table Topics.


DO STRESS TO THE JUDGES:  There are two competitions. Humorous Speaking in the first part and Table Topics in the second. They have DIFFERENT SCORING PAPERS FOR BOTH. So, they need to use the right one.  The same is true for the Tie-breaking Judge who uses 1191A and 1180A. These sheets are on their role description on this site if you need to see them.  The different forms place different emphasis on the techniques looked for.

  • 1191/1191A is for the Best Speaker in the Humorous Speaking Competition
  • 1180/1180A is for the Best Speaker in the Table Topics Competition.


Your Briefing to the Time Keepers

On the Times for Speeches.

  • Speech times are 5-7 minutes BUT a grace period of 30 seconds each way is given: Effectively if they are between 4 minutes 30 seconds and 7 minutes 30 seconds they are IN. Other than that they are out.
  • Reminder the Timers NOT to make any statements that a candidate is out of time. Unlike a normal meeting, they do NOT announce the timings. They record them and give the sheet to you.
  • If it is Table Topics, then the times are the same as usual i.e. above one minute and no more than two minutes thirty seconds.

On Form 1175.

The Timekeepers should hand over to you Form 1175 which lists the speakers and their timings. 

Your Briefing to the Counters

You are checking that the Counters understand their role and resolve issues if there is any doubt.

The Counters have a Tally Sheet, Form 1175. Their role is at the end of the speech sessions. 

Verify that the Counters have Form 1175 or give one to them.

Tell them that you will leave the room with them after all of the speeches have been completed.  Tell them that you will collect:

  • Timer Form 1175 from the Timers.
  • The Judges’ Form 1191 votes
  • The Tie-reaking Judge’s Form 1191A which will only be used in a draw.

They will use Tally Form 1175 to rank all judges on the left and all candidates on the right assigning 3 points to a speaker rated by a judge as first, 2 for second and 1 point for third.

They will tally them up to work out first, second and third.

ONLY THEN do they look at the Timer Form 1175 to see all are in time. If they are, they’ll give Form 1175 to you and you will transfer the results to Form 1168 to give to the Contest Chair.

Candidates NOT in Time.

Ensure your counters are familiar with this.

After they have counted and got the results THEN they look at the Timer Form.

They have their results: first, second, third.

If it makes no difference then that’s fine. If it does affect the top three then they will need to note the disqualification on Tally Form 1175. They will then review the votes to see who is next and add them to the top three.

If any speakers are not in time, do not tell anyone nor make announcements. There is a part on the Tally Form 1176 for that.  The Contest Chair will simply say a candidate was out of time but not name them.


What if there is a Draw/Tie?

The Counters will give you their results in Form 1176.  If they indicate a draw for a position, let’s say second place, what do you do?

IF it is a draw (and only if it is) THEN open the Tiebraking judge’s vote.

The Tiebreaking judge will have listed ALL speakers in order; NOT just the top 3.

Under Rule 5L(1)c you need to look at the order that the Tiebreaking Judge ranked them. Let’s say that Jannetta is first but Sylvia and Amey are joint second.  Jannetta is fine. You look on the Tiebreaker’s  list to see whether Sylvia or Amey is highest on the Tiebreaking Judge’s decision.  Whoever is highest gets the place.

Use this process to determine any other shared places. Then complete Form 1168 and hand to the Contest Chair.

What if, Say, First Place is Tied – Do You Displace Second and They Displace Third?


After Your Briefing

You’ve done your briefing. Everyone should have the right forms and be familiar with them. They’ve been sent them in advance.

Next, go back to the Competition room and speak to the Contest Chair. Let the Contest Chair know everything is in order (or not) and resolve the issues with the Contest Chair.

After the Speeches

As discussed, collect the following forms:

  • Timer Form 1175 from the Timers.
  • The Judges’ Form 1191 votes
  • The Tie-reaking Judge’s Form 1191A which will only be used in a draw.

Check to see the Judges signed Form 1191 and listed the top three speakers.

Check that the Tie-breaker Judge listed ALL the speeches not just the top three and signed Form 1191A . Do make sure you keep the Tie-breaker Judge’s Form 1191A separate to the others. This form is NOT included in the count. It is for a tie only.


Complete the results sheet (Form 1168 ABOVE), check it and give to the Contest Chair.

Wow, you’ve done it! The Chief Judge is the most demanding role of all.  Once you’ve done this put your name forward for Contest Chair next time! If you can manage Chief Judge you can manage anything!

Thank you for helping the club.