The child, a girl, was aged 8 1/2 at the date of the alleged wrongful removal. Her English father and Swiss mother were divorced. The child had lived initially in Hong Kong but then moved to Switzerland with her mother in August 2000 after a final custody order was made. That order of the Family Court in Hong Kong awarded the mother sole custody and the father access. The mother was also granted leave to remove the child from the jurisdiction.
Following the relocation significant difficulties arose in the father’s exercise of contact with the child. In October 2001 he travelled to Switzerland to see his daughter and then took her back to Hong Kong. The mother immediately initiated return proceedings.
On 17 November the High Court – Court of First Instance ordered the return of the child subject to the Swiss Central Authority ensuring that, immediately upon the child the arriving in Switzerland, an investigation take place into the allegations of sexual abuse that had been made by the father on behalf of the child. The father appealed.