• In the case of Chahal v UK [1996] 23 EHRR 413, it was found that if deportation could lead to a breach of Article 3 of the ECHR, that includes the right to freedom of torture, the UK cannot sanction the deportation within the law regardless of whether the individual is a threat to national security.

Facts of the Case

  • C was an Indian citizen who was given consent to stay in the UK but faced deportation after the UK Government connected C with a terrorist group and concluded that C was a threat to national security.
  • There was evidence which emerged demonstrating that there was a risk to C being tortured or killed if he were to be deported back to India as he had gained a negative reputation through the media for his actions in the UK


  • Was the UK Government entitled to lawfully deport C back to India?
  • Would C’s deportation lead to a breach of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights?

Held by the European Court of Human Rights

  • The Court allowed the appeal and found that C’s deportation would result in a breach of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Judgement of the Grand Chamber

  • The judges found that the deportation, if executed, would result in a violation of Article 3. Article 3 is regarded as an important right afforded to all individuals and not easily put aside when considering the context of an individual’s situation.
  • The court wanted full persuasion that C would be guaranteed safety when deported to India, suggesting the importance of adherence to Article 3.
  • “Article 3 enshrines one of the most fundamental values of democratic society… The Court is well aware of the immense difficulties faced by the States in modern times in protecting their communities from terrorist violence. However, even in these circumstances, the Convention prohibits in absolute terms torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, irrespective of the victim’s conduct… The prohibition provided by Article 3 against ill-treatment is equally absolute in expulsion cases… In these circumstances, the activities of the individual in question, however undesirable or dangerous, cannot be a material consideration.” [79]