- Varela was a founder of the association Judges for Democracy and a law professor at the University of Santiago de Compostela.
- He created the journal Revista Xurídica Galega, a promoter of the use of Galician language in judicial proceedings 
- Varela has, in conjunction with other judges, encouraged many students of judicature, of which 40 are now judges and prosecutors, including one of the judge's children.
- He was also the author of the draft law of the Court of Jurado popular, which, after the coming parliamentary procedure, to be published in the Boletín Oficial del Estado with the official name ofLaw 5 / 1995 22 May, the Court of the Jury.
Since October 2007 Varela has served on the Criminal Division of the Supreme Court. Among his many actions appears the case of Judge Francisco Javier de Urquia in April 2009 which determined that there was no crime of trespass but bribery, for which he was sentenced to 21 months of suspension from office and fined €73,800, the minimum provided by law.
The case against Baltasar Garzon
In 2009 Varela was appointed instructor in the case of the 'Star' National Court judge Baltasar Garzón Real,(internationally famous for prosecuting the dictator of Chile Augusto Pinochet. Garzón was charged with an alleged crime of trespass in the case of the Franco crimes, following a complaint by the ultra-conservative quasi-union officials Manos Limpias, founded by Miguel Bernard Remón, which accused Garzón of knowingly issuing unlawful orders and or decisions 
In the first order dated February 3, 2010  Varela believes that Baltasar Garzón "... acted with the purpose of circumventing the legislature's decision on the rules for locating and exhuming victims of the horrendous crimes of the Franco era, knowing that they had been subject to a law of amnesty democratically enacted by the state of Spain, whose will Garzón deliberately chose to ignore or circumvent, "and that this fact may constitute a crime of prevarication.' (Prevarication in Spanish signifies a legal act or maneuver intended to pervert the course of Justice)
In the same order, Varela, as the instructor, declared his court competent to process the case and ordered Garzón to testify as a defendant in criminal proceedings.
Some commentators allege that Varela is hostile to Garzón, for reasons that go back many years " and the spokesman for Judges for Democracy, Victoria Rosell, considered that the action against Garzón Varela was to "criminalize legal debate."  By contrast, José Luis Barreiro, columnist and politician of the conservative People's Party, from his column in the conservative local newspaper La Voz de Galicia, argued that we are seeing the clash between two visions of the role of judges; Varela's vision, argues Barreiro, is that the judge should apply the law putting aside the problems of humanity; while Garzón's vision, still argues Barreiro, is that justice is a specific way to govern the world.
On April 7, 2010, pursuant to Criminal Procedure Law Spanish, Judge of the Supreme decided to transform action into a simplified 'summary procedure' indicting judge Baltasar Garzon on suspicion of crime of trespass that he committed his court to engage, without jurisdictional competence, a cause for the disappearances of various persons during the Franco era.
Varela's decision completes the preparation phase of the trial, which means that Garzon will sit on in the dock when the accusers provide evidence against him. The judge considers that the decisions rendered by the court of Garzón during the investigation of disappearances of persons during the Franco era are unlawful and not objective. Center-right newspaper el Mundo, which is against Garzon's decision, said in an editorial that "the politics of memory are nasty" and constitute a "bloodless form of vengeance." El Mundo reported that the judge, specifically accuses Garzón of having, in his capacity as a judge of the National Court, of having willfully initiated and sustained allegations against o deceased persons who were anyway granted amnesty by the law of 1978 and moreover, the presiding judge well knew that such investigation was not within his competence
- muy-descontrolada/idEdicion-2007-10-02/idNoticia-215127 / Interview in El Correo Gallego in October 2007
- declared as a defendant in El País September 8, 2009.
- http://www.elpais.com/elpaismedia/ultimahora/media/201002/04/espana/20100204elpepunac_4_Pes_PDF.doc Auto 3 February 2010
- The protagonists , Diario de León, April 8, 2010, accessed April 2010 EL9.
- Julio M. Tes Lazarus, "The fate of 'God' in your hands", El País, April 18, 2010, accessed April 27, 2010.
- Judge Varela legal debatecriminalizes ,Canary Now, April 8, 2010, accessed April 9, 2010.
- Article in Xornal de Galicia
- Historia de la empresa de La Voz de Galicia
- José Luis Barreiro (2010) La verdad sobre el caso Garzón Garzón, (The truth about the case Garzón) in La Voz de Galicia
- Varela 04/07/espana/1270627099.html Judge Garzon sits on the bench Journal World April 7, 2010
- Abend, Lisa (October 17, 2008). "At Last, Spain Faces Up to Franco's Guilt". Time. Retrieved 2008-10-22.
- Varela Judge Garzon sits on the bench | Spain | elmundo.es
- Entre la independencia y el control. Artículo de Varela Castro en el sitio web de la asociación Jueces para la Democracia, de la cual es su fundador.
- El forjador de jueces En Faro de Vigo, 7/02/2010.
- El Tribunal Supremo, en la cuerda floja Bonifacio de la Cuadra en El País, 10/03/2010.
- "España necesita un repaso honesto de su problemático pasado, no el enjuiciamiento de quienes tienen el valor de denunciarlo". ("Spain needs an honest accounting of its troubled past, not prosecution of those who have the courage to demand it"). "Los crímenes reales en este caso son las desapariciones, no la investigación del Sr. Garzón." ("The real crimes in this case are the disappearances, not Mr. Garzón's investigation"). En The New York Times.
- Cruzada contra Garzón En The Guardian.
- "Luciano Varela, un especialista en perder por poco", por Manuel Jabois, Diario de Pontevedra, 18-4-10.
- La opinión del periodista Iñaki Gabilondo en su programa de noticias publicado on YouTube "Persecución fascista al juez Baltasar Garzón por investigar el genocidio franquista".
- Artículo de Joaquín Leguina en El Pais "Enterrar a los muertos".
- Varela, un provocador en busca de notoriedad, en EL PAÍS