The child, a girl, was approximately 9 at the date of the alleged wrongful removal. She had lived in Sweden all of her life.
The parents’ cohabitation ended in August 1997. Both remained in Sweden and the child stayed alternately with her mother and father. However, under Swedish law the mother had sole custody, the father rights of access.
On 5 December 1997 the father unilaterally took the child to Iceland. On 23 January 1998 the mother filed a petition for the return of the child in the District Court of Nordurland Eystra in Akureyri, Iceland.
On 26 January 1998 the court ordered the return of the child to Sweden, but the order was stayed pending an expedited appeal to the Supreme Court.