The children, a boy and two girls, were 7 1/3, nearly 4 and 1 3/4 respectively at the date of the alleged wrongful removal. They had lived in Australia and France. The parents were separated.
On 19 October 1992 an order was made in a court in Montpellier (France) which permitted the mother to live with the children separately from the father. On 24 October 1992 the father travelled to Australia with the two older children. The mother applied for the return of the children. On 14 December 1992 the Family Court ordered the return of the children. It was found that the mother had neither consented to nor acquiesced in the removal.
The trial judge refused to grant the father a stay of the operation of the orders. The father appealed against the refusal to grant a stay, on the basis, inter alia, that he was not given the opportunity to cross-examine his wife.