Against consistency as a ground of review

Research output: Other contribution


Equal treatment, the principle that like cases should be treated alike, occupies a paradoxically ambivalent place within moral and legal discussion of equality. In one sense, it is an essential feature of justice that similarly situated persons be afforded similar treatment and that differences in treatment be adequately justified. This principle is informed by and presupposes the moral equality of persons, without which the demand for justification of departures from consistent treatment would be unintelligible. However, in another sense, equalisation of treatment, purely for the sake of equalisation, gives rise to the now well established "levelling-down" objection: a requirement of equalisation can be satisfied either by treating people equally badly or by replicating wrongful forms of treatment, even when we are aware that the treatment in question is wrongful. The levelling-down objection indicates that equalisation for its own sake is unlikely to be intrinsically valuable, even if there may be some instrumental reasons to do so.
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputBlog
Place of PublicationLondon
Publication statusPublished - 9 Mar 2020


  • administrative law
  • equality
  • consistency


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