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General Principle:

This case is an application of the general idea of extraterritorial impact that was established in Soering.


Chahal v UK (1997) 23 EHRR 413

Chahal was a separatist campaigner for the Sikh cause in India who was currently being held in jail by the United Kingdom. Because of his suspected involvement in criminal activity while in India, the government of the United Kingdom want to deport him back to India, and the Indian authorities had stated that he would be welcomed back and treated appropriately if he was sent there.


Nevertheless, Chahal was successful in arguing that, despite the fact that there would be no officially sanctioned action taken against him, he would be at a "real risk" of being mistreated by rogue elements within the Punjab Police, and that because of the official status of these elements (even if their action was not "officially" sanctioned), the state would not intervene to protect him from this mistreatment. Hence, Chahal expanded the scope of Soering to include situations in which non-state actors might be the likely source of the Article 3 treatment. EcHR found that he could not be departed because:

“the national interest of the State could not be invoked to override the interests of the individual where substantial grounds had been shown for believing that he would be subjected to ill-treatment if expelled.” (para 78)


The fact that the United Kingdom made the rather ludicrous claim that Soering might be differentiated from Chahal due to the fact that Chahal could always be deported to a region of India far away from the Punjab Police who threatened him was another noteworthy aspect of the case.

Chahal v UK


The notion of extraterritorial impact that was established in Soering was extended in Chahal v. UK (1997) 23 EHRR 413. Chahal thereby expanded the scope of the concept established in Soering to include situations in which non-state actors may have been responsible for the Article 3 treatment. The House of Lords investigated two later Article 3 claims based on the approach that was used in the Soering case. These claims were as follows: R (on application of Bagdanavicius) v Secretary of State for Home Department [2005] UKHL 31 and N (FC) v Secretary of State for Home Department [2005] UKHL 31 are two cases that were heard in the High Court of the United Kingdom in 2005.

Chahal v UK

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