In his blog, leading legal commentator, Joshua Rozenberg, assesses the achievements of the Labour Government as it may (or may not) be coming to its end.  He largely hails the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Freedon of Information Act 2000.   He is more mixed about the constitutional changes which established the Supreme Court saying:

“And on which side of the balance sheet should we record the government’s expensive replacement for the House of Lords as the final court of appeal? On that, the jury is still out. The court has made no impact whatsoever on the public’s consciousness, partly because its public relations effort is so feeble and partly because it has not yet had to decide the sort of “right-to-life” case that captures people’s imaginations.

The judges seem to have settled into their “new” building, with its curious mish-mash of Edwardian gothic and pop art. They have exploited their new freedom to give majority rulings – while burdening us with nine separate judgments in important cases. They have been tough-minded and independent – but that’s what they were when they were in the House of Lords.”

That may be a little unfair.  One can hardly have expected (or indeed desired) that the newly established Court could have imposed itself on the public consciousness so soon particularly by means on an active public relations drive.  And the six months since the Court has commenced its work have been distracting times with the public attention diverted by a bitterly cold winter, the prolonged economic slump and the pending general election.  In quieter times, its role (for better of for worse) may seep more significantly into the public perception.

Joshua concludes:  “What we don’t know is whether Labour will still be in power when the consequences of setting up the Supreme Court become known. Perhaps it would prefer not to be.”  It is not clear to what likely impending consequences Joshua is referring here.  It will probably never be clear what substantive changes were brought about by the establishment of the court (it should always be borne in mind that in the preceding period the House of Lords had been at its most interventionist), but the most one can say is that these are likely to be subtle and long term.