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What specimen signatures are required to carry out a forensic signature comparison?

specimen signatures

If you are worried that your signature has been forged on a document, or you need to establish whether a signature is genuine, then you may wish to investigate with a forensic signature comparison. This service, provided by our experts here at Cosslett and Barr, involves a comparison between specimen/known signatures and disputed signatures to determine their authorship.  Examples of the type of documents examined include wills, personal guarantees, loans and mortgage documents.

When providing this service to individuals or legal professionals working on behalf of clients, we will require a number of specimen signatures. This enables us to conduct our examination effectively.  

How many specimen signatures are required?

In order to carry out a forensic signature examination, we generally suggest around 10 to 12 specimen signatures completed as part of everyday life (rather than specifically for the examination). These signatures can be from personal documents and items that the individual has signed such as:

  • Passport
  • Driving licence
  • Bank card
  • Store card
  • Cheques
  • Bank documents

They can also be taken from documents that the individual has signed in the course of their employment and business activities, such as:

  • Receipts
  • Tenancy agreements
  • Annual company reports
  • Business agreements

When do the signatures need to date from?

It is really important that the specimen signatures that you provide are taken from a similar period in which the disputed signature was produced. This is particularly relevant if the person is young or elderly, as their signatures tend to change more over time. 

Can specimen signatures be copies?

Whilst we prefer to work from original documents, we understand that it might not always be possible to pass these on to us. We can therefore work with good quality copies, when originals are not available, but this might affect the strength of the evidence we can reach.

Signatures on driving licences and passports are produced digitally and are reduced in size. Not only may these signatures be out of date in terms of the writing style of the individual, but they may also have been derived from the same original signature, thus meaning that their use is limited when making an effective signature comparison.

It is therefore advised that the specimen signatures you provide should be contemporaneous with the date of the disputed signatures and at least some should be originals. 

How can we help?

Do you suspect a signature has been forged or need to prove that one is genuine? Or are you ready to send specimen signatures to us? Please contact the Cosslett and Barr team on 0121 781 7216 or click here to email us for more information or guidance on what you will need to provide. 

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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