The child, a boy, was 1 1/2 at the date of the alleged wrongful removal. He had lived in England since his birth in the same household with both his parents. His parents were not married.
Some time around February 1999 the father invited the mother to make a parental responsibility agreement with him but she refused. At the end of April the parent’s relationship deteriorated. The mother had a termination of pregnancy and told the father she intended to move out of their shared home.
On 5 May the father made an urgent, ex parte application for a parental responsibility order and a prohibited steps order. The district judge held that there was insufficient evidence to make the order ex parte and he adjourned the application for 7 days.
However, on the evening of 5 May the mother took the boy to South Africa, her State of origin. On 6 May the father appeared before the same district judge who made an order that the mother return the child to the jurisdiction.
The father then applied for the return of the child under the Convention. He was advised by the English Central Authority that he should first obtain a declaration that the removal was wrongful.