The proceedings related to a child born in Germany in 2001 to Greek parents. The parents were married and shared parental responsibility under both German and Greek law. The marriage was characterized by incidents of domestic abuse. In 2007, the mother left Germany with the child in order to visit her sick grandmother. When she left, she intended to return to Germany. Nevertheless, following a fight with the father over the telephone the mother decided not to go back.
The child enrolled in school in Greece and adjusted into both academic and social life. The father petitioned for the child’s return. The application was dismissed by a court of first instance as unfounded in 2007. On appeal by the father in 2010, the Court of Appeal of Western Macedonia held that whilst the child was being wrongfully retained, the exceptions in both Art. 13(1)(b) and Art. 13(2) had been established. The father raised a legal challenge before the Supreme Court of Greece (Areios Pagos).