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Legal market overview
Honduras' very recent past has been characterised by political crisis and a sharp economic downturn having endured a withdrawal of foreign investment and a close to complete halt in the development of real estate projects, following the 2009 constitutional crisis that saw the ousting of President Zelaya. However, it seems that the country is turning a corner, with the government aggressively promoting a new economic programme, in the hope of attracting foreign investment (through regaining and building investor confidence) and strengthening public finances. The programme brings with it a number of new laws including the 2010 Public Private Partnership Law and the 2011 Law for the Promotion and Protection of Investment (which includes certain tax incentives, property right guarantees, and assurances of arbitration as a forum to settle disputes).
The legal market is keen to build on this momentum, and many firms are already seeing an increase in project financing, investments, real estate development, and infrastructure and (renewable) energy projects. Many of the key firms in the market offer their clients not only a presence in the local jurisdiction, but also services across the Central American Region (such firms include Aguilar Castillo Love, Arias & Muñoz, and Consortium – Centro América Abogados). However, local firms such as López Rodezno & Asociados and Bufete Melara & Asociados are highly respected with solid practices and a good depth of experience in corporate and financing matters. The local firms ‘can bring the added benefit of a strong, in-depth knowledge of local politics, policies and trends' enabling them to foresee issues that may arise in transactions. Peers comment that the ‘smaller but strong' Bufete Gutierrez Falla is increasing its strength and presence in the market.