Choosing an Expert
We are fully trained forensic scientists. We do not deal with graphology (which determines character and behavioural traits from writing).
The British Institute of Graphology has acknowledged that Graphology is a different field of study from forensic document examination.
This Practice adopts the widely recognised standards for the training of a document examiner which is provided by the ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) and SWGDOC (Scientific Working Group for Forensic Document Examiners). These standards are adopted on a worldwide basis by government, police and private practitioners for the training of experts as Forensic Document Examiners. The criteria are as follows:
- An individual must hold a minimum educational level of an undergraduate degree
- For a minimum of a 24 month full time apprenticeship within an established laboratory, under supervision from an experienced, trained Forensic Document Examiner
- Their training course must be structured
- The training laboratory is required to have appropriate forensic equipment for all aspects of document examination (for example ESDA, VSC etc) together with a library of, or access to, authoritative texts, periodicals, scientific papers and other professional literature
In our opinion, the above criteria should be borne in mind when you choose your expert.
The field of Forensic Document Examination is not a discipline which can be properly studied by distance learning courses, neither can it be self taught. It is our strongly held belief, widely shared by the forensic science community as a whole, that supervised practice on hundreds of actual cases is the only way to obtain proper scientific training and experience in the field prior to the individual being regarded as having expert status.
Training and knowledge as to the preservation of evidence on a document is also a critical part of a forensic document examiner’s training. Improper methodology and handling documents by individuals not properly trained may destroy evidence on a permanent basis.
A GENUINE SIGNATURE DOES NOT NECESSARILY MEAN THE DOCUMENT IS GENUINE.......
Many individuals who claim expertise in handwriting and signature identification do not undertake a full, and therefore proper, examination and consideration of the document as a whole.
What We Offer
We offer a free of charge:
- Estimate of likely costs
- Initial brief discussion of the case with potential instructing solicitors over the telephone
- Outline of other potential examinations that may be available to extract the maximum evidence from the documents available
For a number of practical and ethical reasons, instruction is not taken from private individuals, only from members of the legal profession, law enforcement agencies, banks, companies etc.