False Friends Fridays: adhesión; adhesion (and the verbs adherir; adhere)

False Friends Fridays new

Adhesión and “adhesion” may be cognates in an expression such as “adhesion contract” (contrato de adhesión). But in the sense of adhesión a un tratado, adhesión is more appropriately rendered as “accession,” as in acuerdo de adhesión (“accession agreement”) or la adhesión de España a la CEE (“Spain’s accession to the EEC”). In this case the appropriate verbs are adherir and “accede:” Estados miembros que se han adherido a la Unión Europea (“Member States that have acceded to the European Union”).

In other respects, in the language of court decisions adherirse is used to denote a judge’s “joining” another’s opinion: adherirse al voto particular disidente/discrepante o concurrente (“to join a dissenting or concurring opinion”). Thus, for example, voto particular concurrente que formula el Magistrado don Luis López Guerra y al que se adhiere el Magistrado don Tomás S. Vives Antón refers to a “concurring opinion filed by Judge Luis López Guerra in which Judge Tomás S. Vives Antón joined.” Likewise, in English an expression such as “Justice White, with whom Justice Blackmun and Justice Stevens join, dissenting” denotes a voto particular disidente (or) discrepante formulado por el Magistrado White, al que se adhieren los Magistrados Blackmun y Stevens.

In an additional context, in Spain’s former Civil Procedure Act (Ley de Enjuiciamiento Civil de 1881) the successful party to a lawsuit could join the losing party’s appeal (called adherirse a la apelación) to challenge some aspect of the judgment being contested. In the present Civil Procedure Act (Ley 1/2000) adhesión a la apelación has been replaced by the concept of impugnación del recurso. In that regard, once the appellant (apelante) has filed his appeal, the appellee or respondent (apelado) may file a brief opposing the appeal (escrito de oposición al recurso) or, if warranted, a brief challenging specific aspects of the appeal that he deems prejudicial to his interests (escrito de impugnación de la resolución apelada en lo que le resulte desfavorable).

4 thoughts on “False Friends Fridays: adhesión; adhesion (and the verbs adherir; adhere)

  1. This comes up in the corporate governance and sustainability areas as well, where neither “accession” nor “adhesion” work very well. For example, “adhesión a los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible”, where “adherence” might be the best functional equivalent. Another example is shareholder forums, where a shareholder can publish a proposal to add an item to the agenda for the shareholders’ meeting and ask other shareholders for their “adhesión” to the proposal – in this case it seems that the functional equivalent in English is that they are asking other shareholders to “join in” the proposal.


  2. Hi Rebecca,

    Thanks for all your insights. I’ve bought your book (LÉXICO TEMÁTICO DE TERMINOLOGÍA JURÍDICA ESPAÑOL-INGLÉS), which is very helpful, especially now that I’ve found a way to open it in Kindle rather than the horrendous Adobe Digital Editions.

    I’m translating a “Convenio de Adhesión.” In this case it concerns a new party joining an existing “convenio de colaboración” (to participate in a Cannabis Hub).

    If you have time to opine, do you think “adhesion agreement” would be appropriate in this case? I’ve also come across “joinder agreement” — not sure what’s most appropriate in this context.


    • Hi, Ross. Good to hear from you! I’m glad you find my LÉXICO useful. I don’t think this should be called an “adhesion agreement (or) contract,” since that’s simply a type of contract in which the terms and conditions are set and the parties can’t negotiate other terms. It sounds more like a “membership agreement” or something similar. But you will know from the context.


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