The child, a girl, was almost 3 at the date of the alleged wrongful removal. During her life she had moved between England and the United States. The parents were married and each had custody rights in respect of the child. On 6 May 1994 the maternal aunt took the girl to California, the mother was secretly party to this removal.
On 22 October 1992 the English High Court had awarded a residence order in favour of the mother and had given her leave to remove the child out of the jurisdiction to live in California. In January 1993 the mother and child returned to live with the father in England; both remained there until May 1994.
In the light of confusion surrounding the 1992 order the father’s application for the return of the child was not processed by the authorities in California. Consequently, the father was advised by the Lord Chancellor’s Department to obtain a declaration from the High Court under s. 8 of the Child Abduction and Custody Act 1985 and Article 15 of the Convention.
On 12 December 1994 the High Court made a declaration that the removal was wrongful, the 1992 order no longer having validity after the mother had resumed cohabitation with the father for a period greater than six months.
The mother appealed against this order.