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Legal 500 Doing Business in Honduras

Contributed by EY Law Central America

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Honduras, middle income country, faces the highest level of economic inequality in the region, with more than 60.9% of the population living in poverty and one of the highest violence rates in the world. Despite the above, Honduras' economic outlook is positive. Since the 2008-2009 global economic crisis, it has experienced a moderate recovery, driven by public investments, exports and remittances. In 2017, the country’s economy grew by 4.1 percent, and a growth of 3.6 is expected for 2018. The country has improved it tax flexibility due to its disciplined policies in public finance; it was even able to restructure and diversify the energy sector.  

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Although Honduras remains Central America’s second-poorest country and has gained a reputation internationally for political instability, recently, as well as having one of the highest murder rates in the Americas, the government is set upon the implementation of fiscal reform, with a view to improving tax collection and driving economic growth.

Further to a 2015 Supreme Court ruling, which struck down a constitutional ban preventing presidents from seeking a second term, the centre-right National Party’s Juan Orlando Hernández was re-elected as president in late 2017. The election result, which was recognised by the US’ State department, was subject to extensive opposition protest claiming election fraud (and during which there were a number of fatalities); the Organizaton of American States (OAS) subsequently called for fresh elections in the country, alleging widespread voting irregularities. Despite its political difficulties, Central America’s leading coffee producer grew its GDP by 4.8 percent in 2017 and, partly due to expansion of the agriculture, construction and financial sectors, Honduras expects growth of up to 4.2 percent in 2018.

Furthermore, Honduras’ legal market has nevertheless participated in the trend towards regionalisation and a number of the country’s significant corporate law firms are members of broader Central American platforms of differing types. Latamlex / Matamoros Batson y Asociados, for example, is the local office of the Latamlex regional structure, while independent firms Casco-Fortín, Cruz & Asociados and Bufete Gutiérrez Falla & Asociados are the exclusive Honduran member-firms of global legal associations Meritas and Lex Mundi, respectively. The offices of Aguilar Castillo Love, Arias, BLP, CENTRAL LAW, Consortium Legal, García & Bodán and Lexincorp are, in turn, each the local representatives of their eponymous regional law firms.

New entrants to the Honduran legal market include the arrival of Guatemala’s Mayora & Mayora, S.C., which has also expanded into El Salvador; and EY Law Honduras, the result of EY’s 2018 merger throughout Central America with what was formerly the Costa Rica-headquartered regional law firm, Pacheco Coto, which brought in Honduras-based senior manager Ricardo José Rosa Clamer.

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