|José Ramón Paz Morales|
The Financial System Law that came in force in 2004 allowed banks of the Honduran banking system to 'offer and provide any financial service via electronic means'. The Financial Consumer Protection Regulation further expanded the latter by establishing that 'all financial consumers may enter into agreements with Honduran financial institutions through electronic means, with the same legal effect and consequences as the agreements celebrated on paper'.
Electronic signatures were not regulated until December 2013, when the Electronic Signatures Law came in force. The law establishes that all electronic signatures applied to any form of data message will have the same legal validity and enforceability as a handwritten signature on a piece of paper, as long as it meets certain legal requirements established in article 8 of the law. The electronic signature method must determine the identity of the person and his consent, and the method must be reliable and incorporate the following minimum reliability requirements: (i) the data for the creation of the electronic signature belongs exclusively to the signatory; (ii) the electronic signature can be verified; (iii) the data for the creation of the signature was at the time of signing, under the exclusive control of the signatory; (iv) it allows the detection of any alteration of the signature after it has been executed; and, (v) the electronic signature is linked to the information or data message in such a way that, if the information or data message is changed, the electronic signature is invalid.
A document with an electronic signature that meets the requirements mentioned in the previous paragraph, will be treated by a Honduran court in the same category as documentary evidence involving private documents. The law allows electronic signatures to have the same legal weight and effect as public instruments (firma electronica avanzada). Nevertheless, the Honduran authorities have not yet installed the infrastructure required to certify these types of electronic signatures.
José Ramón Paz Morales