The application related to a boy born in the United States in December 1990. The parents were married but separated in February with the mother moving with the child to a different state. In 1995 the father issued custody proceedings.
In August 1996 the mother took the child from the United States to Europe. She remarried and moved between several countries before going to Scotland in March 1998. In October the mother gave birth to another child. In February 1999 she and the second husband separated.
In March 1999 mother and children moved to a different town in Scotland. In March 2000 the mother’s location was discovered and the boy was taken into local authority care pending determination of the father’s return petition. On 24 May 2000 the Outer House of the Court of Session ordered the return of the child. Mother and child appealed.