War of Words

Student addressing the courtWar of Words (WoW) is a weekly co-curricular course that trains you to make quick, one-minute applications on controversial subjects in front of a live audience.

Each session takes place in our replica Crown courtroom, with 6 students per session defending positions as diverse as global warming being a myth and reality TV shows being good for society.

How does WoW work?

These very well-attended, once per week sessions, take place in our full-sized replica Crown courtroom, and 6 students per session must defend positions as diverse as ‘That global warming is a myth’ and ‘That reality TV shows are good for society’. After their attempted defence, the student faces a barrage of questions from the audience, designed to knock them off their perch.

If after this ordeal the student is successful, they are crowned one of that week’s ‘Word Warriors’ and come back to fight another day – if not, then they are invited to come back for another try on a later date. At the end of the academic year, the best Word Warriors are invited back to participate in the knock-out stages of the competition.

Valuable experience

WoW is run by our trained advocacy staff and allows you to build credits towards your professional co-curricular diploma. This will prove to potential employers that you have gained valuable transferable skills such as:

  • critical reasoning
  • research
  • public speaking
  • dealing with pressurised situations

WoW is also used to promote special events, such as Restorative Justice Week and Environmental Issues Week, as part of our commitment to external projects.

Additionally, a special staff WoW sessions allows you to argue with lecturers on topical issues as part of the School's Christmas celebrations. At the last event, 8 lecturers argued that university tuition fees are too cheap, man-made global warming is a good thing and that the NHS should be privatised. Unsurprisingly, the courtroom was packed to capacity to hear these arguments.

This year, for the first time, WoW has been opened up to students in all 10 Schools in the University, which means that our Hertfordshire Law School ‘Word Warriors’ make intensely argued applications to an audience of over 120 student judges every week – each of them ready, willing and prepared to out-argue and outmanoeuvre our candidates.