The case concerned two children aged 14 and 9, whose mother had sole custody and who had lived with her in Sicily since 2009. The children went to visit their father in Austria for the Easter holiday. They did not return to Sicily as planned because the elder wished to remain in Austria.
The mother tried to take them back in Austria. After that attempt, the authorities transferred custody of the children to the child-protection agency, with the father having physical custody. Legal action was brought for a transfer of custody to the father.
The mother applied for the children’s return. In the first instance, the court decided not to order the elder’s return on the grounds of his objections, but ordered the younger’s return. That ruling was upheld on appeal. The father and mother entered two challenges before the Supreme Court.