The children were 5 and 3 at the date of the alleged wrongful retention. They had lived in Australia all of their lives. The parents were married and had joint rights of custody. In July 1997 the mother took the children to the United Kingdom, her State of origin, for a holiday.
On 11 August 1997 the father received a letter from the mother’s solicitors stating that the mother would not return to Australia and requesting his consent for the making of residence orders in respect of the children.
On 21 August 1997 the father travelled to Wales. He consulted a solicitor who made arrangements with the mother’s solicitors for him to see the children.
On 28 August 1997 the mother’s solicitors prepared an attendance note stating that the father wished to have contact with the children and if the mother was agreeable to that he would not oppose her application for a residence order. The note further recorded that the father intended to live in the jurisdiction on a permanent basis to be near the children.
On 3 September 1997 a court at Swansea made a full residence order in the mother’s favour.
Upon returning to Australia the father was informed of the Hague Convention. On 20 October 1997 an originating summons was issued for the return of the children.
On 13 January 1998 the High Court dismissed the application.
The father appealed.