The ‘merit principle’ has long been an important term in discussions of the theoretical underpinnings of anti-discrimination law, and in particular in discussions of the appropriate scope of affirmative action measures in employment. Despite its centrality to these debates, the meaning of the term remains highly contested. Failure to appreciate its complexity of meaning has contributed to the political (and to some extent, legal) difficulties of resolving controversies to which anti-discrimination law gives rise. In this article, an attempt is made to disaggregate different meanings of the term, and the different weights accorded it, as a contribution to the wider debate about the pros and cons of affirmative action in particular.
Areas of Interest
Oxford Journal of Legal Studies