The new UK Supreme Court finally opened its doors today, after years of planning and centuries of debate. However a recent poll conducted for legal PR specialist Gardant Communications revealed that despite all the build-up, 72% of the UK public think that very few people have heard of the court – or understood what it will do.
There was, however, good news for the PR industry. When it comes to Britain’s justice system, 64% of people think that TV and Newspapers have the most influence on public opinion. This compared to only 12% for the Supreme Court, and a mere 10% for politicians.
“This isn’t encouraging for the public profile of the Supreme Court,” said Gardant partner Kathryn Adamson. “The old saying that ‘justice needs to be seen to be done’ comes to mind. The new court has some of the finest legal minds in the UK. But the public still needs to be convinced of their worth”.
Just as sobering is the fact that more than half of all people (51%) believe that the UK’s new Supreme Court will be expensive and less effective than the current system – compared to only 27% who do not agree with this. When asked whether they agreed with the statement “we need a Supreme Court”, only a slim majority of respondents (53%) said they did.
“The creation of the Supreme Court is an historic event,” continued Adamson. “However, the judiciary will need help from the fourth estate to get its message across”.
The poll was conducted for Gardant Communications by ComRes. ComRes interviewed 1017 GB adults by telephone between 9th and 10th September 2009. Data were weighted to be representative demographically of all GB adults.