Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Below are some of the most common questions from our clients.

Can you guarantee a definite result?

No.  Forensic examinations are such that one can never know at the outset what the end result of an examination will be, nor the strength of any opinion that might ultimately be expressed.  We must first conduct the necessary forensic examinations.  The result very much depends on the evidence generated in the first instance and that which remains at the time the item is examined.  Forensic Document Examiners Pty. Ltd. (FDE) conducts forensic examinations with a view to recovering and interpreting that evidence in order to reach a conclusion on the issue in question and any other relevant matters.

The bona fides of any person claiming to guarantee results should raise concern.

Can you conduct onsite examinations?

Yes, some examinations may be conducted on a limited basis onsite elsewhere with portable equipment, however, any conclusions will likely be qualified and subject to confirmation (and possible strengthening) following detailed examinations in our laboratory where we have the benefit of access to the full range of our instrumentation, reference materials and other resources.  For comprehensive and detailed examinations, our preference is that the items be submitted to one of the FDE laboratories. Furthermore, laboratory examinations allow immediate consultation between our examiners for quality assurance purposes.  Many examinations cannot be undertaken at all outside our laboratory.  This is an issue that needs to be assessed on a case by case basis.

Our instrumentation is expensive and mostly not designed to be portable.  Transporting the instrumentation around raises significant insurance issues as well as some occupational health and safety concerns.

Aside from these issues, scientific examinations should be undertaken in an appropriate environment - not on the corner of a table in the Court Registry or a desk in someone's office, and preferably not with client's and others looking over the examiner's shoulder.

Where can I find specimen signatures and/or handwriting to provide for examination?

Specimen signatures and/or handwriting can be obtained from many sources, including the following:

  • greeting cards
  • envelopes
  • postcards
  • employment applications
  • deeds
  • cooking recipes
  • shopping lists
  • address books
  • log books
  • diaries
  • children's homework sheets/logs
  • child visitation correspondence books
  • school books
  • study notes
  • contracts
  • cheques and cheque book stubs
  • passports and passport applications
  • personnel departments
  • photograph albums
  • real estate documents
  • drivers licences
  • Social Security cards, papers and applications
  • hospital admissions application
  • tax returns
  • Immigration and travel documents
  • letters
  • loan applications
  • Wills

There are many other sources that FDE can suggest if necessary.