The proceedings related to a child born in September 1993 in Cyprus, to a Cypriot father and a Polish mother. The parents were married and each had rights of custody in respect of the child. The family lived together in Cyprus until 20 July 1998, when the mother unilaterally removed the child to Poland. She subsequently issued divorce proceedings there.
On 7 August, the father applied for the return of his daughter to Cyprus. On 16 December, the District Court rejected the father’s return petition.
On 29 April 1999, the Circuit Court in Warsaw dismissed the father’s appeal. The Circuit Court accepted that the removal of the child had been wrongful, but ruled that the Article 13(1)(b) exception had been made out. This was on the basis that the mother was not prepared to return to Cyprus and the separation of mother and child would cause the child psychological harm.
The father then sought to challenge the legality of the Circuit ruling before the Supreme Court.