Home » Why Do We Use ‘Judgement’ Instead of ‘Judgment’?

‘Judgement’ v ‘Judgment’

Which is right and which is wrong, judgement or judgment? To quote from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet:

“What’s in a name?

That which we call a rose

By any other word would smell as sweet”

The use of the spelling ‘Judgement’ or ‘judgment’ is bound to elicit fierce debate. The simple answer is that they are two ways to spell the same thing. There is no right and no wrong way to spell it.

See, for example, the Merriam-Webster dictionary or the Oxford English dictionary.

It is not true that one is the ‘American’ spelling and the other the ‘British’ spelling. They are just two ways to spell the same word.

Why the ‘e’ in eJudgements?

Why does eJudgements use the ‘e’? The house style of Juta’s South African Law Reports has used the word ‘Judgements’ and it was decided to follow that style since they are the older and more established set of law reports in South Africa.

There are no ‘official’ law reports in South Africa. For a long period of time Juta were regarded as the only and thus unofficially ‘official’ set. However, there has never been any government decision to recognise one set or another. The dominant commercial publishers for many years (in fact over a century) were Juta and Butterworths (now Lexis Nexis). With the advent of the digital age they face many competitors. In addition, both publishers decided a number of years ago to create specialist sets of reports.

So, for example, Juta publishes the South African Law Reports (SA or SALR), the South African Criminal Law Reports (SACR) and the Industrial Law Journal (called a journal but containing many law reports) (ILJ). Lexis Nexus publishes the All South Africa Law Reports (All SA, which Juta, absurdly, for a while abbreviated as B All SA (Butterworth’s All South Africa Law Reports)), the Butterworth Constitutional Law Reports (BCLR) and the Butterworth Labour Law Reports (BLLR). It is not impossible to find a South African judgement (or judgment) published in four or five different sets of law reports, with multiple references.