- Researching the handwritten text or signature in order to establish whether it is that of a given person or a forgery, and
- Attempting to identify the forger.
The Handwriting Expert needs to have a very thorough knowledge of Graphology in order to be able to observe the differences between patterns as expressed through the signs of two apparently similar handwritings, which very often may be extremely subtle, and establish whether these have been written by the same person.
With the advantage of knowing the mechanisms of handwriting, the Handwriting Expert knows how a stroke has been drawn and what the driving movement behind it was. This is of extreme importance in Judicial Graphology.
A skilled forger can imitate the forms and movements and can produce a very successful final product, but he or she can never reproduce the individual driving movements - "the brain patterns" - of the original.
The disguise, however, will always be imperfect, because if we banish Nature, She will return with redoubled force.
Meanwhile, the Handwriting Expert focuses on the purely technical aspects of document authentication, by:
- observing carefully,
- examining thoroughly,
- reasoning logically, and
- without prejudice.
There are two broad groups of questioned document authentication:
(1) The identification of authenticity of a letter (or part thereof), a will (or part thereof) or a signature.
The author is known, and we have other authenticated and uncontested documents against which to compare the writing.
(2) Anonymous letters.
The author is unknown, and we have only suspect's writings with which to compare the document.
A forgery. once established, becomes a sort of anonymous letter, since by definition we don't know the author.
The search for the author of a forgery follows the same general path as the search for the author of an anonymous letter.
The only difference is that in case of an anonymous letter we suspect only that the writer might have simply disguised his writing, whereas a forgery implies the imitation of someone else's writing.
To establish whether a writing is a forgery, it is always advisable to start by examining the document of comparison, and then to proceed with the observation of the questioned document and the comparison with the authentic document.