Work Undertaken

Forensic Signature and Handwriting Examination:

  • Examination of documents in cases of disputed signature authentication, i.e. questioned signatures or alleged signature forgery, simulation of signatures, tracings, examination of deteriorated signatures due to ill health, examination for evidence of transposed signatures on photocopy documents, examination of guided hand signatures, etc.
  • Forensic handwriting examination - to establish or eliminate common authorship of documents, to differentiate between genuine and forged handwritings, examination of disguised writings etc.

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General Forensic Document Examination including:

  • ESDA - a sensitive technique to identify indented and electrostatic writing impressions on documents caused by other documents having been written whilst resting on top of the document under investigation. This technique regularly gives valuable information as to the source or history of the document, can associate it with other documents, can give information as to the sequence of production of writings or documents, identify documentation produced en masse etc. The technique of ESDA Sequencing (determining whether writing impressions are on top of or underneath writing on a page) was developed by this laboratory and can give extremely important information as to the sequence in which documents were actually prepared.
  • Forensic ink analysis - non-destructive analysis (infrared luminescence/reflectance, visual luminescence) to differentiate between different inks, decipher obliterated writings where the obliterating ink is of a different composition from the original entry, identify alterations to writings made with a different ink from the original entry etc. Chemical analysis of inks is available if required although this is a destructive test requiring a short length of line to be removed from the document and written permission of the Court or the owner of the document is therefore required before any such work can be undertaken.
  • Examination of typewritten and office printed documents to identify documents originating from the same source, date of production etc.
  • Examination of photocopies to identify origin, association of copies one with another as having originated from the same copier, determination of the sequence of production of multiple copies of the same precursor document etc.
  • Absolute and relative dating of documents utilising a variety of techniques.
  • Identification of document manipulation, alterations, additions. Deciphering erasures/obliterations.
  • Paper examination to determine source, similarities/differences between different papers etc.
  • Identification of sequence of production of intersecting inkstrokes, inkstrokes and writing impressions, inkstrokes and creases etc.

All examinations and techniques routinely used by the laboratory are non-destructive and will not damage, deface or alter the documents in any way.  They will not restrict any examination of the documents subsequently by another expert.

A thick black pen is used to hide tracing guidelines

Figure 1: A thick black pen is used to hide tracing guidelines but the pencil is detected utilising infrared luminescence techniques

Figure 2: ESDA detects impressions caused by one document having been written on whilst resting on the questioned document

Figure 3: Obliteration of a name on an envelope reused to send an anonymous communication revealed by infrared reflection