The case concerned a child born in Australia in 2005. After the parents separated in 2009, the parties entered in April 2010 into an agreement settling the child’s living conditions and the periods when he would travel to France with his mother alone or with both parents.
It was also specified that the mother would reside in Australia for 12 months exclusive of the time spent in France, and that the child would be schooled in Australia in a French immersion school. That agreement was approved by an Australian court in June 2010.
The mother wished to travel to France on an exceptional basis with the child owing to her own mother’s health, and the parties signed an agreement for the purpose before the customs officer, whereby the child was to return to Australia a month later, on 13 May 2011. The mother applied to the French courts for divorce and custody of the child in late April 2011.
On 4 May, she informed the father that she would not return to Australia and would not return the child there. On 28 July 2011, the father’s return application was denied. He appealed.