The children, a boy and a girl, were 11 _ and 9 _ respectively at the date of the alleged wrongful removal. They had lived in Germany all of their lives. The parents were separated and had commenced custody proceedings prior to the removal.
On 4 April 2001 the Magistrates’ Court of Weinheim made a provisional order transferring the right to make residence provisions to the Youth Welfare Department of the City of Weinheim and ordered an expert opinion to be made on the issue of custody. In late May, prior to the production of the report, the father took the children to Scotland.
The expert report was subsequently completed on 3 July and found that the best interests of the children lay in living with their mother. On 3 August the Mannheim court awarded the mother sole custody.
In mid September the mother issued her return application.