The children, two girls, were 6 and 3 years old at the date of the alleged wrongful retention. They had lived in the United Kingdom with both of their parents since birth. The parents were married.
On 29 July 1991 the mother came to Austria for a holiday with the father’s consent. The mother subsequently refused to return to the United Kingdom. On 12 August 1991 the mother applied for a divorce and custody in Austria.
On 29 August the father applied for the return of the children. On 23 September the District Court for the Inner District of Vienna ordered the return of the children to their father in the United Kingdom, following the finding of a wrongful retention. The mother appealed.