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Frequently Asked Questions

Having been established for over 65 years, we have identified the questions most frequently asked by clients

Do you give evidence before Courts and Tribunals?

Ellen Radley is experienced in giving evidence both abroad and in the UK. She also addressed the Court on hundreds, if not thousands, of occasions during her career as a Solicitor.

Robert Radley has given evidence in over 20 countries worldwide.

The laboratory is fully equipped for participation in remote Court/Arbitration hearings.

What is the examination likely to cost?

Fees are charged on an hourly basis, unless agreed otherwise.


Full details are required as to the nature of the work to be undertaken before an estimate can be provided.

How long is the turnaround time for a report?

The turnaround for report is always quoted in terms of the number of days/weeks further to receipt of all necessary documentation.

We try to keep the turnaround time as short as possible.

A prime objective of our Practice is to assist those instructing within their required timescale. Our current estimated turnaround time for a case can be provided upon contact.

Do we need original documents for the examination?

Original documents should be submitted if they are still in existence.

For a full examination we would request sight of the original documentation concerned and would ask that this be released directly to our Laboratory where suitable conditions and instrumental facilities for the examination are available.

Copies may not reproduce the finer points of constructional detail such as subtle retouching, retraces of strokes, pen lifts etc. nor can one fully examine copies for variation of pen pressure, line quality etc. (features most difficult to mimic).

Obviously, copies do not reproduce what may be microscopical evidence which may provide information as to the history/production of a questioned document.

If a copy document is to be provided, please ensure that it is the best quality copy in existence i.e. preferably a first generation copy of the original as opposed to a copy of a copy etc.

What do you require by way of comparison material for a signature examination?

For an examination of the authenticity of a signature, we require comparison course of business documentation representative of different signatures executed under different circumstances from around the same time period as the questioned document.

In any response to an enquiry, a letter will be sent identifying the number and nature of signatures that would be required for the examination.


Usually, comparison material will need to be obtained from third parties. We can provide a list of potential sources by way of an aide memoire for the retrieval of signatures, to enable collation of appropriate documentation.

Signatures taken specifically for the purpose of the comparison examination are generally regarded as poor quality material.  The artificial circumstances in which such samples are taken may cause accidental or deliberate modification of a signature style and such signatures will not be representative of how an individual signs on different occasions under different writing conditions. However, on occasions, specimen signatures may be specifically requested for a particular purpose.

How is your opinion expressed?

Opinions proffered are of varying degrees of confidence and this Practice adopts a widely accepted scale of opinion terminology for experts in the field of forensic document examination.


The opinion is dependent upon the weight of evidence available.  The level of opinion is fully explained in a Glossary attached to the report.

Can the expert have a quick look at the document to give an indication verbally if it is worth pursuing the matter?
No. We do not consider that a “quick look” at a document is an appropriate approach for a proper forensic examination.

All aspects of the document need to be examined in detail. To do otherwise and provide a “quick verbal report” is, in our opinion, neither professional nor reliable. An incomplete examination can result in evidence being overlooked or misinterpreted, and therefore, this is not a practice undertaken by this Laboratory.
Yes. Not only do we have one of the best libraries of authoritative texts on forensic document examination in the UK, we also have a collection of over a thousand hard copy scientific papers concerning the field of forensic document examination. We also have a collection of (and subscribe to) journals and periodicals in which papers concerning forensic document examination are published.

Additionally, we have various computer databases on specific topics various bibliographies concerning publications in the field. We also have access to electronic versions of thousands of scientific papers in the field of forensic document examination.

The Practice also is part of a worldwide organisation of document examiners who share information and assist in enquiries concerning information and developments in the field.