The children, both girls, were 8 and 4 1/2 at the date of the original wrongful removal. The parents were married and both enjoyed custody rights. On 13 September 1996 the mother unilaterally removed the girls from their home in California and took them to Sweden, her State of origin. The father commenced return proceedings.
On 6 February 1997 the Lansratten (Administrative County Court) in Scania ruled that the removal was wrongful but refused to order the return of the girls on the grounds that the standard of harm envisaged under Article 13(1)(b) had been met.
On 26 May 1997 an appeal was heard by the Kammarratten (Administrative Court of Appeals). However, on 27 May 1997, before a verdict had been delivered, the father attempted to unilaterally take the girls back to the United States. While changing planes at Heathrow he was arrested pursuant to a Swedish extradition warrant.
The father then sought to reinitiate return proceedings in England.