The High Court has quashed the decision of Judicial Conduct Commissioner Sir David Gascoigne to form a Judicial Conduct Panel to hear complaints against Justice Bill Wilson.

But it has sent the case back to the commissioner effectively asking Sir David to re-issue his recommendation to form a panel in compliance with the law.

The panel - which has the power to recommend a judge be removed from the bench - had on Friday been postponed until November 23.

Justice Wilson, a Supreme Court judge, was the subject of three separate complaints alleging inadequate disclosure of his business relationship with Alan Galbraith, QC, who was appearing before him at the Court of Appeal against the Saxmere company.

The Supreme Court first found no bias, but with new evidence found there was an "indirect indebtedness" of Justice Wilson to Mr Galbraith.

Sir David recommended to Acting Attorney General Judith Collins that a panel be formed.

Justice Wilson sought a judicial review of that decision and has been successful on the grounds that the written recommendation failed to form an actual opinion as required to do under the Judicial Conduct Commissioner and Judicial Conduct Panel Act 2004.

The High Court also found that the commissioner needs to identify the matter or matters concerning the judge's alleged conduct that he believes warrants further inquiry by the panel.

Justice Wilson said in a statement he was "very pleased that his judicial review proceedings have achieved their principal objective of quashing both the recommendation of the Judicial Conduct Commissioner that a Panel be convened and the decision of the Acting Attorney-General to accept that recommendation. "

The High Court had confirmed his view that the commisioner's recommendation and the Acting Attorney-General's decision to accept it were "serioulsy flawed."

The case

Allegations of misconduct against Justice Wilson centre on the extent of disclosures by the judge about his business relationship with Alan Galbraith, QC, before Mr Galbraith appeared before the judge in a 2007 case.

Justice Wilson made an informal disclosure to the counsel opposing Mr Galbraith in March 2007 about their joint ownership of Rich Hill, a company that owned land rented to Rich Hill Stud, a separate horse breeding company that is part-owned by Mr Galbraith but not by Mr Wilson.

- with NZHERALD STAFF