National Court judge Baltasar Garzon is to be investigated regarding allegations that he undertook an unauthorised investigation outside of his jurisdiction into possible crimes committed during the Spanish civil war.

The judge has gained notoriety on several occasions most notably for indicting the ageing South American former leader Augusto Pinochet as well as the terrorist leader Osama bin Laden.

The judge is to be investigated following allegations brought by the Spanish union of civil servants. According to court documents released yesterday the judge has neither been charged with any offence or been suspended from his court.

Judge Garzon has made it very clear that he absolutely denies there was anything inappropriate in any of his actions. This however will not stop him being subjected to giving evidence in his own defence.

The judge who climbed rapidly through the ranks has become known as a strong advocate of human rights issues is well known not only in is native country but also around the world. But now there seems to be a backlash from some ultra-conservative elements in the Spanish hierarchy.

Just a couple months ago he was fined a small amount after a legal oversight meant that he was required to release two major drug-trafficking criminals. Last year he presided over a terror plot trial that would have seen the courthouse where he sits destroyed by a massive bomb.

Originally 45 people were arrested on warrants issued by the judge but eventually just six faced trial and were convicted.