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What are questioned documents and how can our handwriting experts help prove their authenticity?

questioned documents

When we refer to a ‘questioned document’, we mean a document whose authenticity is being called into question. It may be the entire document that is being questioned, or just a part of it, such as the signature. You may come across the term questioned documents if you are searching for the help of a handwriting expert, so if you are worried about the authenticity of the writing or signature on a document, this blog will outline how we can help.

What are the most common questioned documents?

Though the writing being disputed may take many formats, the most common types of questioned documents that our handwriting experts are called upon to analyse include:

  • Personal documents with forged signatures – this could be on any manner of document but is often on Wills, Guarantees, cheques, Land Registry documents, loans or tenancy agreements.
  • Malicious letters, anonymous notes or hate mail.
  • Company documents – this might include figures or signatures that look questionable and have perhaps been amended or deleted, or it may be that something malicious or offensive has been added to a company document and you need to know who did it.

How can we help prove whose writing or signature is on a questioned document?

In many cases, you will have your suspicions as to who wrote the document, so it is up to our experts and our forensic techniques to help determine whether this is the case. You would need to obtain several other sample documents or signatures by the person in question in order for us to carry out our analysis.

These sample writings or signatures will need to have been made at around the same time as the questioned document, as handwriting styles can change as we get older and a sample from several years ago might not be an accurate representation of an individual’s current handwriting.

Something else to consider is that if the writing on the questioned documents is all in uppercase, then the samples of handwriting we will need to analyse will also need to be upper case, and the same goes for a document that is written solely in lower case letters. 

Original documents are always best for us to make our forensic comparisons, however we understand that it isn’t always possible, so some photocopies, of a good quality, may be acceptable.

Once we have the sample writings, and these can be from many different sources, including diary entries, notes, business documents, shopping lists, or in the case of a disputed signature, items such as passport, driving licence, bank/store cards, invoices etc, we can carry out our forensic comparisons to help determine if the writing or signature on the questioned document is from the same person as the samples.

Call our handwriting experts

If you need help determining the authenticity of a questioned document, please get in touch with our handwriting experts on 0121 796 5355 or click here to request a free consultation.

I have been updated that none of the facts were proved against our member in relation to the allegations raised about the reference. Great news and thank you again for your assistance in this matter

Legal Officer, Sunderland


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