Today I learnt how it is possible for a State to "sign up" to a treaty without actually signing it. The answer: Accession! Apologies if this is common knowledge, but today I've learnt that Signature usually means that a State agrees to the text of a treaty, Ratification means a State consents to be bound by a treaty following Signature, and Accession means a State agrees to be bound by a treaty without going through the process of Signature and Ratification (e.g. if a State was not involved in the original treaty negotiations). This is something I have often wondered about and was forced to find out today when answering an enquiry from a lawyer. Of course I have oversimplified the definitions for the sake of this blog. In the future I will refer to the helpful glossary on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website (link below) and when a lawyer next asks if a State has "signed up" to a particular treaty, I will be better equipped to answer.