The Binding Nature of GFS Guidelines
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The Binding Nature of GFS Guidelines

The guidelines describe professional standards, and thus the application of appropriate methods of examination based on the aims of GFS and obligations of its members. What is the purpose of guidelines unless they are intended to be applied? It therefore goes without saying that the guidelines are defined as the basis of assignments handled by members and are binding. Whether to apply them or not is certainly not left in the discretion of the expert concerned.

Professional standards can and ought to be developed continuously. However, this calls for another process of publication and discussion. There is no forensic discipline in which the expert can “do whatever s/he likes”. The independence or non-bias approach of an expert is crucial when an expert opinion is given, yet is certainly not equivalent to independence from professional rules.

The GFS is made up of individuals or members acting in their own responsibility. As a result, opportunities for exerting influence in a given case are rather limited at first. Yet those who do not comply with professional rules may later come in for criticism for good reason, and must respond to it accordingly. The resultant professional debate may help to develop professional standards further or confirm existing standards in their current form, respectively. In order to further professional debate, it may also be a good idea to present the case at a GFS meeting.

The procedure described is anchored in the statutes by implication only, especially through GFS aims and member obligations. The Executive Board expects consistent compliance in this matter. Only then will the reputation of our discipline be enhanced. The modification of our professional association planned for the Königswinter meeting in 2014 clearly reflects such expectation.


The Executive Board of the “Gesellschaft für Forensische Schriftuntersuchung” (GFS), reg. assoc. 2014

Text in German Language
(c) GFS 10´2011