Use your judgement

Today I was faced with a story about a legal case which went to appeal. In his judgment, according to our reporter, the judge criticised an individual's lack of judgement.

Now the OED simply lists judgement, with judgment as an alternative. But I was taught, many years ago, that legal judgments lose the 'e' so I turned to that font of wisdom, Fowler's Modern English Usage, to find yet another difference between UK and US usage. It seems judgement is common usage in the UK while judgment has won the day in the US.

Dropping the 'e' in legal contexts is described as "just one of convention in various publishing houses". My Fowler's is the 3rd edition so I checked with the 2nd edition on JD's desk where I found that this convention extends to the Oxford University Press.

That was good enough for me so I had the pleasure of leaving both spellings in a single sentence. Life's never dull in the Engine Room...

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