Corn Adomnáin

What is the Corn Adomnáin?

The Corn Adomnáin is an IHL competition organised by the Irish Red Cross for those with an interest in this area of law. The competition gets its name from the Cáin Adomnáin or the ‘Law of Innocents’ as it is often referred to. The Cáin Adomnáin is an early Irish IHL treaty that was signed in Birr, Co. Offaly in 697AD.

The competition involves a fictitious case study of a conflict and participating students take part in role-plays, simulations, and moot courts to explore key elements of IHL (e.g. use of autonomous weapons, urban warfare, protection of women and children, and healthcare). Their performance is evaluated by a judging panel composed of highly experienced persons in the field of international law. The Corn Adomnáin offers students a rich and stimulating experience that allows them to develop their understanding of IHL and its application.

2025 Corn Adomnáin

The next Corn Adomnáin competition will take place in March 2025. Applications will open later this year. Please email if you have any questions.

Entry Requirements

The competition is for students who are currently studying law in Ireland. Students will need to form teams of three and submit an application form to to take part.

Multiple teams from a university/institution can apply and we ask each institution to rank these applications in the event that the competition is oversubscribed. For further information on how we will select teams please see the application form above.

Applications for 2024 are now open until 31st January 2024.

Team Resources

The Irish Red Cross provides specific resources for topics that will be covered in each year’s competition to assist teams with their preparations. The resources include reading lists and coaching and strategy tips.

There are also resources available from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), including the How does law protect in war? database which includes updated information, cases, and references in a user-friendly format.

The Irish Red Cross is available to deliver a presentation about its work on IHL and this competition to interested institutions. If your institution wishes to avail of this please contact us on the details below.

Contact details for more information

For further information and inquiries about the competition, please email Sarah West at or call (01) 642 4600.

2024 Corn Adomnáin

The latest edition of the Corn Adomnáin was held on 23rd March 2024 at Dublin City University. Eight teams from seven institutions studying law competed to win the competition which required teams to apply their knowledge of the rules and war on a fictitious urban armed conflict. Teams were asked to take on various roles throughout the day in different scenarios and simulations, including by acting as legal advisors to armed forces and as humanitarian workers. Teams were required to advise on different areas of IHL including protection of healthcare, protection of cultural property, detention and weapons regulation. Students competing were required to display a strong understanding of the fundamental principles of IHL as well as good negotiation and presentation skills.

Following assessments in the scenarios, the two top teams went on to compete in a final moot court styled on the International Criminal Court. The case related to the destruction of a residential apartment building after the use of explosive weapons. The judging panel was composed of Judge Patricia McNamara from the Dublin Metropolitan District Court, Military Judge Colonel Michael Campion from the Irish Defence Forces, and Dr James Gallan, Associate Professor at Dublin City University.

The winning team members from the Law Society of Ireland included Conal O’Gahdra, Chloe McCabe and Calem Martin. They presented their oral arguments against the team from Trinity College Dublin who were Runners Up. University of Galway securing a prize in a mini moot court focused on prisoners of war. The Law society of Ireland additionally won a prize for best performance in the scenario addressing protection of cultural property. This prize was kindly sponsored by the National Advisory Committee on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.

A huge thank you to Dublin City University for hosting the competition, and for their students who volunteered on the day. Thank you to all the judges and participants for joining us to learn about International Humanitarian Law!

Pictured: Niall O’Keeffe, Head of International and Migration at the Irish Red Cross, with Corn Adomnáin 2024 winners from Law Society of Ireland Calem Martin, Conal O’Gahdra and Chloe McCabe from the Law Society of Ireland.
Final Moot court with teams from Trinity College Dublin and the Law Society of Ireland. Judging panel comprised of Judge Patricia McNamara from the Dublin Metropolitan District Court, Military Judge Colonel Michael Campion from the Irish Defence Forces, and Dr James Gallan, Associate Professor at Dublin City University.

Last updated April 2024