Guatemala flag Guatemala: Business Environment

Business law in Guatemala

Legal Framework

Independence of Justice
The judiciary is not independent in Guatemala and corruption is still corroding the system which lacks transparency and pub

lic accountability.  Nevertheless, with regard to doing business, there are agencies that deal with dispute resolution and they work well:  The FTAA group has a dispute resolution system and companies often call on the WTO for the resolution of conflicts.  The DSB: Dispute Settlement Body is the most frequently used dispute resolution system.  See DSB website.

Equal Treatment of Nationals and Foreigners
In the business world, investment laws treat Guatemalan and foreign companies equally.  With regard to all other judicial matters that one could be engaged in, it all depends on the circumstances (location, presiding judge). The Guatemalan justice system and police practices are very criticized by the Human Rights League.  See link: Freedom House.
The Language of Justice
The judicial language used in the country is Spanish, though there are 23 other officially recognized Amerindian languages.
Recourse to an Interpreter
The Guatemalan State makes provisions for an interpreter to be available for people who do not speak Spanish.
Sources of the Law and Legal Similarities
The main source of the law is the 1985 Constitution as amended in 1993.The legal system is based on a system of civil law and of judicial reviews of various legislative acts. Guatemala has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction.  The Guatemalan legal system has similarities with that of the United States.
Checking National Laws Online
Laws of Guatemala (in Spanish).

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Latest Update: April 2024