The child, a boy, was 5 years of age at the date of the alleged wrongful retention. He had lived in both Sweden and England. The parents were not married but had joint rights of custody. The child lived in Sweden until April 1999 when his mother unilaterally took him to England. In May 1999 she decided to stay there permanently.
In the spring of 2000 the parents agreed that the child would stay with his father in Sweden from May until August 2000 and then return to England. However, the child was not returned in accordance with the agreement. On 20 September the mother initiated return proceedings in a Swedish County Court (L??nsr??tten i V??stmanlands l??n). On 18 October the Court ordered the return of the child.
The father appealed to the Administrative Court of Appeals in Stockholm. On 3 November that Court allowed the appeal and refused to order the return of the child, finding the child to be habitually resident in Sweden. The mother appealed to the Supreme Administrative Court.