The children were 13 and 8 at the date of the alleged wrongful retention. They had lived in both England and the United States. In September 1992 the family moved to the United States.
In August 1993, following a vacation in England, the father and children returned to the United States without the mother. Visits then followed in the United States and England between the mother and children.
On 9 February 1995 a Florida court ordered that the parents have joint custody but with the father having actual care of the children.
The parents later agreed that the children would spend the summer of 1995 in England with a return date fixed for 14 August 1995. On 16 August 1995 the older child returned, but the younger child refused to board the airplane.
On 22 August 1995 the father’s originating summons was issued. On 7 September 1995 the High Court ordered that the child be returned to the United States, subject to undertakings.
On 14 September the child again refused to board the airplane taking her back. The mother then appealed.