The Gesellschaft fuer Forensische Schriftuntersuchung (GFS) was founded and registered October 14, 1951 under the name "Association of Freelancing Forensic Experts" and 1967 renamed to "Association of Forensic Handwriting Experts". In 1985 objectives and purposes were newly defined and by-laws amended - the new name of the society was established. The GFS is a registered society and recorded in court. The society counts approx. 70 members from 9 European countries, they are working in the fields of handwritings, typewritten and printed documents and other special techniques of document examinations.
The society conducts the promotion of the Forensic Handwriting Examination in research and practice and represents the profession of forensic examiners. To accomplish these objectives the society is organising congresses and workshops to exchange experiences and to foster education. In continuance of the former Mannheim Symposia for Handwriting Examination, congresses are held biennially in German and English. To encourage international communication among experts, the participation to these congresses is not restricted to members only. In alteration to the international congresses the society provides events in between, which focus on panel discussions and workshops for GFS members.
The society encourages to establish and maintain high professional standards in ethics, education, training and in work performances. The support of the prosecuting authorities, the courts as well as chambers of commerce is of main importance to appoint qualified experts. Another goal is to establish standards for the training and accreditation of experts. Moreover, the society pursuits the co-operation with other foreign forensic societies in this discipline.
The society consists of regular, affiliate and candidate members. There is no nationality restriction. To become a regular member the applicant must meet minimum forensic qualifications in the field of handwriting examination. Applicants must be supported by 2 regular members of the society. Members must have a thorough knowledge in their field of practice and the technical skills to apply the most recent methods and technics. The requested technical minimum standards are set up in guidelines. The by-laws regulate application and examination procedures. The applicant must usually pass the examinations successfully, which are administered by the board of examiners of the society. In exceptional cases an equivalent qualification may be accepted.
Next to the technical demands for the regular membership the applicant must meet the requirements to have all necessary devices at hand according to the minimum standards.
Regular members are required to undertake significant research and present the results at least every three years, give proof of their permanent education and training as well as the use of modern examination devices.Regular members are entitled to call themselves "Expert for Forensic Handwriting Examination (GFS)" and to apply the official stamp of the society which proves the membership. The members are also enlisted in the "Forensic Handwriting Examination Expert Register", which is regularly edited by the society and presented to the general attorneys, the courts and other authorities or institutions.
Forensic document experts, who are still in training, are able to join the society as candidate members, if recommended by two regular members. The candidate status should not exceed the time period of 5 years. Persons who are interested in the objectives and purposes of the society, without fulfilling the requirements of a regular member, may apply for associated member.
Further information can be found in the by-laws and guidelines which are available at the office of the secretary of the society.