Handwriting and Signature Comparison

Handwriting and Signature comparisons are the most common types of examinations performed by forensic document examiners.
The main purpose of a handwriting or signature examinations is to determine authorship i.e., who wrote or signed a questioned document.

Both types of examinations involve a detailed comparison (both micro- and macroscopic) of known samples of writing or signatures to those in question. There are numerous aspects of the writing or signature that are compared and analysed before a document examiner can provide an opinion regarding authorship.

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Latent Indentations

Latent indentations occur in a document when it is underneath another document that has been written on. Indentations can be revealed from pages located several pages above it and can be very valuable evidence. Indentation evidence can often be used to sequence the time line of entries.

Indentations can be developed using an instrument called the Electrostatic Detection Apparatus (or ESDA). An ESDA examination is non-destructive and develops a lasting image of the revealed indentations.

Other types of document examination

In addition to handwriting and signature comparisons and detection of latent indentations, the other types of examinations conducted by Documents in Dispute include:

  • The reconstruction of shredded or torn documents
  • Detecting alterations to documents such as additions, insertions and page substitutions
  • Detection of fraudulent or counterfeit documents
  • Determining the method of production of machine-generated (printed) documents
  • Recovering or deciphering faded, obliterated or erased entries
  • Non-destructive ink comparisons