The child, a boy, was aged 1 1/2 at the date of the alleged wrongful retention. The parents were married and had joint rights of custody. In March 1989 the family emigrated to Australia. On 21 October 1989 the father took the child back to the United Kingdom. The mother consented to this removal, but several weeks later she changed her mind and sought the return of the child.
On 14 March 1990 the Paramatta Family Court awarded the mother interim custody of the child.
On 30 March the mother’s return application was commenced in Scotland. On 1 June 1990 the Outer House of the Court of Session dismissed the petition.
The mother appealed.