In South Africa, the large majority of enquiries the Forensic Handwriting Examiner (FHE), receives is for the analysis of disputed signatures.
What does the forensic handwriting examiner (FHE) look for? Since no writer signs in exactly the same way, a direct comparison of handwriting features is not sufficient to reach a conclusion with any level of confidence. Furthermore, a comparison of just one or two known specimens with the questioned specimen cannot deliver a reliable conclusion either. While the handwriting examiner can start the comparison with copies, the originals are crucial to the analysis.
While a very close examination of handwriting features to determine writing habits revealed in each piece of writing, is vital, other aspects may need to be examined closely, such as quality of ink, quality of lines, extraneous elements, close examination of the document for other traces of various types of forgery. For this type of detailed close examination, the handwriting examiner solicits the help of a variety of light sources and other equipment.
Conclusions resulting from the thorough analysis are generally based on the standards outlined in the ASTM Int’l standards.