Welcome to the Australasian Society of Forensic Document Examiners Incorporated (ASFDE Inc.) website.

Document examination involves research and detailed analyses in search of evidence that establishes the authenticity, or otherwise, of documents and the information they contain.

Explore these pages to find out more about the examination of documents, the objectives and activities of the Society, and the requirements for the various levels of membership.


The objectives of the Australasian Society of Forensic Document Examiners Incorporated are:

  • to foster education;
  • to encourage scientific research;
  • to exchange experiences and
  • to provide instruction

in the field of document examination and to promote justice in matters that involve questions about documents.

Our History

The Australasian Society of Forensic Document Examiners Incorporated (ASFDE Inc.) was founded from the Australian Society of Forensic Document Examiners. The Society was originally formed in 1980 by Mr Leonard Timewell, Mr Barry Short, Mr Paul Westwood, Mr James Buglio, Mr David Chivers, Mr Mark Edwards, and Mr Michael Talbot-Wilson.

1981 ASFDE meeting, Sydney.

The purpose of founding the Society was to provide a forum for bona fide forensic document examiners to advance the study and application of the field; to facilitate cooperation among persons and organisations interested in forensic document examination; and to encourage knowledge within the field of forensic document examination through publications, meetings, conferences, research and education.

In 1993, the Society changed its name to the Australasian Society of Forensic Document Examiners. In 2007, the Society was Incorporated in New South Wales as an Incorporated Association and has continued to be Incorporated having registered with the Australian Securities Investment Commission (ASIC) as a Registered Australian Body.

Code of Ethics

To support the objectives and purposes of the society, each member of the ASFDE Inc. agrees to abide by the following code of ethics:

  1. To apply accepted scientific principles and logic in the solution of all document problems and to follow the truth courageously.
  2. To render an opinion or conclusion strictly in accordance with the physical evidence in the document, and only to the extent justified by the facts. To admit frankly that certain questions cannot be answered because of the nature of the problem, the lack of material, or insufficient opportunity for examination.
  3. To express opinions in written reports in simple, precise and unambiguous terms and to use simple terms when presenting evidence.
  4. To maintain objectivity at all times and not take examinations beyond the limits of one’s expertise. If a particular investigation requires the use of a novel method, the status of that method should be identified and explained.
  5. Where applicable, the physical results of tests, field notes, test notes, reports and photographs should be retained until at least the conclusion of any relevant legal proceedings, including any additional periods of appeal as determined by law.
  6. To maintain confidentiality of information received and not make inappropriate disclosures.
  7. Not to undertake examinations on a contingency basis.
  8. To make technically correct and conservative statements in all written or oral reports, testimony, public addresses or publications, and to avoid misleading or inaccurate claims.
  9. To act at all times (both in and out of court) in an absolutely impartial manner and to do nothing that would imply partisanship or any interest in the case except to prove the facts and prove them correctly consistent with membership of a skilled profession and to treat colleagues with due respect and avoid inappropriate criticism of them.
  10. Where applicable, to abide by the Expert Evidence Rules Code of Conduct of the relevant jurisdiction.
  11. To maintain a constant spirit of fairness, combined with high ethical, education and technical standards, thereby promoting justice and creating increased confidence in the profession of document examination; and by exemplary conduct and scientific thoroughness carry out the aims and ideals of this Society. It is the duty of each member to serve the purposes of the Society, to observe its by-laws, and to be governed by this Code of Ethics.

Any member who fails to comply with these provisions may face disciplinary procedures as defined in section 11 of the constitution of the ASFDE Inc.

ASFDE Inc Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Statement

Since its founding, the purpose of the Australasian Society of Forensic Document Examiners Incorporated has been to facilitate cooperation among persons and organisations interested in forensic document examination, and to encourage knowledge exchange within the field. Sharing opinions and experiences is integral to this objective, and we recognise the strength that a diverse and active community of members brings.

We are committed to fostering and preserving a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We value and welcome members and applicants of all cultures, nations of origin, ethnicities, languages, sexes, gender identities and expressions, sexual orientations, ages, colours, neurodiversities, religions, abilities, and beliefs.

ASFDE Inc encourages all members to ask questions, respect answers and appreciate one another’s contributions. We aim to provide members with equitable access to, and opportunities for, participation and engagement in our activities.

We will strive to ensure that invited speakers at conferences are diverse and that members of our society can identify with our leaders, contributors and experts.

The society will achieve these tenants of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion through:

  1. The use of open and inclusive language in our society communications;
  2. Open calls for all members to participate in society activities and functions;
  3. The provision of scholarships and awards to ensure members can undertake development opportunities;
  4. Incorporating accommodations for members to allow our activities to be accessible; and
  5. Facilitating respectful and open discussions in all society activities