The child, a boy, was 10 months at the date of the alleged wrongful retention. The parents were not married and the father had no legal custody rights in respect of the boy. On 3 September 1992 the mother took the child to Germany, her State of origin.
In August 1992 the father had begun proceedings for a parental responsibility order. On 4 September 1992 the child was made a ward of court. The father sought a declaration that the retention of the child in Germany was wrongful.