The child, a boy, was aged 4 1/2 at the date of the alleged wrongful retention. He had lived in Australia all of his life. The parents were married and both had custody rights. On 13 August 1991 the mother took the child to England to stay with the maternal grandparents. The nature of the visit was disputed.
Between August 1991 and January 1992 the father’s solicitors sent several letters to the mother. These dealt, inter alia, with the issue of custody.
Between January and June 1992 the father remained out of contact with his solicitors. In the late summer of 1992 the father initiated return proceedings.