Barry Sullivan Law Cup

The Barry Sullivan Law Cup is a province-wide public speaking competition for high school students to honour the memory of Barry M. Sullivan, QC and his contributions the legal profession and education. 

This is an annual event that provides high school students with a unique platform to explore and express their perspectives on legal matters through public speaking. This competition not only hones their oratory skills but also encourages critical thinking and engagement with legal concepts.

The competition involves a five-minute speech on a certain law-related topic, chosen by a panel of lawyers. Participants are judged by esteemed legal professionals during the preliminary round. Final Round judges have included judges from the Courts in British Columbia and representatives from UBC and the media, among others.

The Final Round, usually consisting of 5 finalists, of which there are three winners:

  • First prize: $1,500 (School will also receive a trophy to keep for the year in recognition)
  • Second prize: $250
  • Third prize: $150


  • Student must be enrolled in Grade 10, 11, or 12.
  • Student must reside and study in British Columbia. Students residing outside of the Lower Mainland can request support for transportation and accommodations.
  • Due to the interest in participation, a maximum of 3 students per school can enter.

​Schools with more than 3 interested students are encouraged to conduct their own initial speech competition with school educators as judges. 


  1. Each contestant is to prepare one speech on a pre-selected topic.
  2. Each speech is to be delivered in less than 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, contestants are penalized one point for every 5 seconds.
  3. Contestants will be judged according to the guidelines below.


In judging the contest, the judges will have in mind the following factors:

  1. Effectiveness
    1. Was the speech persuasive and convincing?
    2. Does the speech have emotional impact?
    3. Was the speech structured and well-organized?
  2. Content
    1. Was the reasoning sound?
    2. Was the speech creative and/or thoughtful?
    3. Did the speech adhere to subject topic?
  3. Delivery
    1. Voice: volume, clarity, pace, enunciation
    2. Presence: poise, connection with audience, style