The children, a boy and a girl, were 10 1/4 and 8 3/4 at the date of the alleged wrongful removal. They had lived in Scotland all of their lives. The parents were divorced and the mother had custody. On 13 June 1994 the mother took the children to the United States of America.
The father instituted Hague proceedings in the United States seeking the return of the children. While those proceedings were pending he issued an application in the Outer House of the Court of Session seeking a declaration that the removal of the children was wrongful.