The children, a girl and a boy, were aged 13 and 6 respectively at the date of the retention of the girl and at the start of the violation of the father’s right of access in respect of the boy. The parents, both Germans, lived in Luxembourg until the mother left the family home in May 1997.
On 14 October 1997 the Tribunal d’arrondissement at Diekirch (Luxembourg) awarded custody of the girl to the father. Custody of the boy was given to the mother, but the father had a right of access. On 7 July 1999 the Cour sup?rieure de justice (Luxembourg) upheld this order. Following a period of access the mother refused to return the girl to the father.
The Luxembourg Central Authority requested the recognition and enforcement in Belgium of the Luxembourg custody and access orders of 1997 and 1999. The mother subsequently appealed against the recognition of these orders, arguing that the Luxembourg Convention was not applicable and invoking Article 13(1)(b) of the Hague Convention.