Dispute resolution in Kazakhstan

AEQUITAS

AEQUITAS focuses primarily on complex multijurisdictional commercial disputes, as well as local Kazakh commercial arbitration cases. In 2019, the team became a participant at the Astana International Financial Center. Valikhan Shaikenov splits his time between Almaty and Berlin, and leads on major pro bono work. Ardak Idayatova, who was recently promoted to the partnership, primarily focuses on construction arbitration and litigation. Managing partner Olga Chentsova is an expert in international arbitration cases, particularly those concerning oil and gas, mining and construction.

Practice head(s):

Valikhan Shaikenov; Ardak Idayatova

Other key lawyers:

Olga Chentsova

Key clients

TransGroup Systems L.P.

Work highlights

  • Acted for TransGroup Systems L.P. in a complex default interest recovery dispute against a Kazakh claimant.
  • Represented a Russia-based law firm in an ongoing dispute that arose out of the performance of a services agreement on debt recovery between the client and a local bank.

Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP

Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP represents the Republic of Kazakhstan in strategic, high-profile international arbitration cases, and its team is particularly noted for its experience of the oil and gas industry. Notably, the group acts for the national uranium producer of Kazakhstan regarding disputes concerning international joint venture arrangements. Based in Paris, Peter Wolrich and Geoffroy Lyonnet are involved in high-stakes arbitration for the Republic of Kazakhstan; located in Almaty, Askar Moukhitdinov supervises all work in Kazakhstan; operating out of New York, Eric Gilioli serves as lead negotiator for government entities in the Kazakh energy industry. Additionally, Hermann Ferre is lead disputes partner for construction arbitration. The team is fluent in English, Russian, and Kazakh.

Practice head(s):

Peter Wolrich; Geoffroy Lyonnet; Askar Moukhitdinov; Eric Gilioli; Hermann Ferre

Testimonials

‘The Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle legal team has, in my experience, a facility for dealing with complex technical and commercial aspects of international arbitration and ADR, at a level of understanding that is rare.’

Key clients

Republic of Kazakhstan

Samruk-Kazyna

KazAtomProm

Work highlights

  • Represented the Republic of Kazakhstan in several international arbitrations, particularly in the oil and gas and construction sectors, with respect to both contract and international treaty disputes.
  • Obtained a dismissal of all claims against Samruk-Kazyna JSC, the sovereign wealth fund of Kazakhstan, in a securities fraud action pending in New York brought by three Panamanian hedge funds who have asserted US securities law claims in connection with their acquisition of subordinated debt of a Kazakh bank.
  • Successfully represented KazAtomProm in an unusual US trade proceeding, a Section 232 investigation, in which the US government investigated whether imports of uranium from Kazakhstan and other countries constituted a threat to the national security of the US.

Dentons

The team at Dentons is highly experienced in representing clients in commercial disputes, as well as in contentious tax and customs matters. Additionally, it represents clients in banking litigation, general contract litigation, joint venture and partnership disputes, and IP disputes, among other work. Aigoul Kenjebayeva leads on all matters. Newly promoted partner Daniyar Toigonbaev represents international companies in Kazakh court; the highly regarded Victoria Simonova handles Kazakh and international law matters; and newly promoted counsel Artur Utarbayev is particularly experienced in commercial, contractual, and construction disputes.

Practice head(s):

Daniyar Toigonbaev

Other key lawyers:

Aigoul Kenjebayeva; Victoria Simonova; Artur Utarbayev

Testimonials

‘Dentons possesses comprehensive knowledge of our projects, the relevant PSAs, and all aspects of operations which are especially valuable due to the long term contract with stabilization guarantees. ’

‘Offered great counsel and legal advice in an unfamiliar jurisdiction for us.’

‘Victoria Simonova has provided us with great counsel on administration of justice and law in Kazakhstan over several years. I could not recommend her more highly.’

Key clients

Firma Meda

Salini Costruttori S.p.A

Kazzinc LLP

HeidelbergCement

Nostrum Oil & Gas

Halliburton

Work highlights

  • Represented a client’s interests in arbitration regarding a production-sharing agreement initiated by the Republic of Kazakhstan government.
  • Successfully represented Firma Meda LLP in a court dispute challenging a $2.25m dividend payment claim of the former sole shareholder and invalidation of the respective resolution of the former sole shareholder.
  • Represented a client at the Specialized Inter-District Court of Nur-Sultan in a civil case for recognition of the client as bad-faith party to a public procurement transaction filed by the Astana Transport Department.

Kinstellar LLP

Kinstellar LLP handles a range of disputes relating to matters such as complex cross-border commercial cases, construction and environmental disputes, and controversial customs and tax matters. Its clients are often in the oil and gas sectors, as well as metal, mining, and large international corporates. In recent years the team has established itself as 'go-to' legal counsel for major international law firms. Head of the dispute resolution team Mukhit Yeleuov leads on commercial and construction disputes. Senior associate Dina Berkaliyeva deals with disputes relating to natural resources and general commercial disputes.

Practice head(s):

Mukhit Yeleuov

Other key lawyers:

Dina Berkaliyeva

Key clients

North Caspian Operating Company N.V.

Tengizchevroil LLP

Eurasian Resources Group

Procter & Gamble

Reed Smith LLP

With extensive experience acting for Kazakh state bodies in high-profile dispute resolution cases, Reed Smith LLP has established itself as a key arbitration team in Kazakhstan. Practice leader Belinda Paisley specialises in international arbitration. She works alongside Chloe Carswell, who primarily focuses on investment treaty arbitration and negotiation regarding important Kazakh construction projects.

Practice head(s):

Belinda Paisley

Other key lawyers:

Chloe Carswell

Baker & McKenzie - CIS, Limited

The dispute resolution team at Baker & McKenzie - CIS, Limited is a key destination for international and local arbitration and litigation matters, with particular expertise in the natural resources, oil and gas, energy, and mining sectors. Additionally, the team is known for its expertise representing clients in complex litigation involving state authorities, as well as administrative and criminal proceedings. Managing partner Azamat Kuatbekov specialises in complex litigation and arbitration. Fellow co-head Alexander Korobeinikov is an acting arbitrator and primarily focuses commercial and international arbitration matters.

Practice head(s):

Azamat Kuatbekov; Alexander Korobeinikov

Other key lawyers:

Igor Kolupayev

Testimonials

‘Good attitude, diverse skills, helpful advisers, and shrewd negotiators.’

‘Alexander Korobeinikov is forthright, wise, considerate, good sense of humour, resolute, skilful, and hard-working.’

‘The Baker & McKenzie Almaty Office has a great team that has excellent legal, commercial and industry knowledge. It’s a very much client-oriented team.’

‘I would mark out Azamat Kuatbekov and Alexander Korobeinikov as outstanding lawyers at Baker & McKenzie practising in Kazakhstan. Brilliant knowledge of law, sophisticated approach to resolution of legal matters, great treatment of clients and reasonable billing are recognizable features of these specialists and the firm as whole.’

Key clients

SAS Inc.

Blue Water Shipping

United Cement Group

Lafonda

SkyBridge Investment

Syngenta

Lukoil Lubricants

FSDS

Frank’s International

Cochlear Europe Limited

Weatherford

Nelson Petroleum

Work highlights

  • Acted for SAS in a complex litigation matter involving several parallel litigation proceedings, corporate, compliance, contractual and labour matters.
  • Represented United Cement Group in one of the biggest investment arbitration proceedings commenced by Kazakhstani investors against Uzbekistan.
  • Acted for a local subsidiary of Weatherford in challenging the results of a customs audits in the Investment Panel of the Nur-Sultan City Court.

Centil Law

The team at Centil Law focuses on three major areas of dispute resolution: courts and local arbitration, enforcement of foreign arbitral awards, and Kazakh law advice to international commercial clients involving potential arbitrations. The group has seen an increase in local arbitration work, as well as an increase in advising clients on potential disputes. Head of the Kazakhstan practice Dinara Jarmukhanova is admitted to the New York Bar and is a qualified Kazakhstan lawyer. She is an expert in international arbitration work. Associate Aigerim Akmaganbetova joined from work at an NGO in January 2020.

Practice head(s):

Dinara Jarmukhanova

Other key lawyers:

Aigerim Akmaganbetova

Key clients

Isikal Law Office/Entegre

Lever X

Duan & Duan

Sace SRV Srl

Polymya LLP

Work highlights

  • Advised a Chinese manufacturer of electric trains that sought to hold a municipal company liable for damages inflicted on the client by reason of improper conduct of tenders and misinformation.
  • Acted as Kazakh counsel to Entegre, the subcontractor in the Abu Dhabi Plaza project, in its arbitration in Abu Dhabi arbitration Centre with the general contractor, Arabtec.
  • Advised a large mining and metals client under Kazakh law on the merits of a potential arbitration against the contractor in connection with an explosion at the client’s facilities.

GRATA International

GRATA International is known for its expert advice regarding construction-related litigation; however, in recent years the team has increased its strengths in general commercial and labour litigation in foreign courts and arbitral tribunals Practice head Askar Konysbayev focuses primarily on representing corporate clients in commercial and corporate disputes. Senior counsel Andrew Gamble is based in London and plays a key role in maintaining the firm's relationships with UK firms. Previous practice leader Bakhyt Tukulov departed for private practice.

Practice head(s):

Askar Konysbayev

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Gamble

Testimonials

‘They are casual and welcoming but professional in their delivery.’

Key clients

Procter and Gamble Kazakhstan LLP

ONGC Videsh Limited, Kazakh Branch

Maersk Oil Kazakhstan Gmb, Kazakh Branch

OMV Petrom, Kazakh Branch

KazStroyService, LLP

Caspian Offshore and Marine Construction, LLP

Caspian Mainport Aktau, LLP

CNLC International Kazakhstan Inc., LLP

Batys- Munay, LLP

Vostok Neft Services, LLP

Pfizer, Inc., Kazakh Representative Office

Korean National Oil Company

Atlas Copco Central Asia, LLP

Hill International Inc.

Turkuaz Machinery, LLP

LG Electronics Almaty Kazakhstan, JSC

Kuatamlonmunay JV, LLP

ENKA İnşaat ve Sanayi A.Ş., Kazakh Branch

JTI Kazakhstan, LLP

Work highlights

  • Represented Aeroflot Russian Airlines in its dispute with the Astana International Airport over an aircraft accident.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP has a track record acting for foreign and domestic clients in cross-border international arbitrations. The team works closely with the firm's London office on much of its work, and handles local litigation in Kazakh courts. The group is particularly known for its litigation work regarding administrative law and tax matters. Managing partner and general director Aset Shyngyssov supervises the litigation practice and serves as a key partner liaising between the London and Almaty offices. Klara Nurgaziyeva is another key name.

Practice head(s):

Aset Shyngyssov

Other key lawyers:

Klara Nurgaziyeva

Key clients

EBRD

Telia

VTB Capital

Petrokazakhstan

Wabtec

Alstom

Airbus

RG Brands

Compass Group

Sayat Zholshy & Partners

Sayat Zholshy & Partners represents clients in a wide range of disputes, including corporate and antitrust disputes, banking and finance litigation, and contentious construction and real estate cases, as well as major bankruptcy disputes. Practice leader Vitaliy Vodolazkin is a highly regarded litigator and frequently represents major international companies in significant cases. Amir Begdesenov provides additional support in IP and competition-related cases.

Practice head(s):

Vitaliy Vodolazkin

Other key lawyers:

Amir Begdesenov

Testimonials

‘We have been procuring dispute resolution services from Sayat Zholshy & Partners for quite a long time. We assign to the team only the most challenging disputes. Our key contact person in Sayat Zholshy & Partners is Senior Partner Vitaliy Vodolazkin. Vitaliy is an acknowledged authority on the resolution of disputes in Kazakhstan. Mr Vodolazkin represented our Corporation in numerous disputes with tax and antitrust authorities. Industry-specific knowledge is the most distinctive feature of Vitaliy that ensures high quality of the legal services he provides to us.’

‘Sayat Zholshy & Partners (SZP) has always had a diverse and impressive litigation practice. Unlike other Kazakhstan legal practitioners, SZP partners are strongly dedicated to and involved in all the projects pursued by our Company ensuring the highest quality of their services.’

‘Our key contact person in Sayat Zholshy & Partners is Vitaliy Vodolazkin. Whenever we have serious disputes with our counteragents, we immediately consult with Vitaliy whose advice more than once saved us from negative impacts and minimized adverse effects. Vitaliy is an excellent litigator who can be entrusted with the most sophisticated lawsuits in any area. It is also worth noting that he is available 24/7 and promptly responds to the most serious challenges. ’

‘Well-spoken and highly fluent in both Russian and English. The team is very professional and able to explain complex things in a simple way. It’s notable they have a strong attention to detail and a personal touch.’

Key clients

Air Astana

inDriver

Nomad Insurance JSC

PSN KazStroy JSC

KarTel (Beeline)

Resmi

PM Lucas

Halliburton

Philip Morris

Eurasian Foods Corporation

TengizTransGroup

Work highlights

  • Defended Air Astana and its pilots involved in an incident throughout the criminal proceedings instituted by law enforcement authorities. The criminal proceedings were discontinued.
  • Represented PSN KazStroy JSC in a dispute with its contractor under a subcontract for construction of facilities in offshore oil fields in the Caspian Sea.
  • Supported InDriver with its audit by government authorities and represented the client in front of the administrative court in connection therewith.

SIGNUM Law Firm

SIGNUM Law Firm acts as dispute resolution counsel in Kazakhstan for significant international clients regarding a range of matters, including international arbitration, commercial litigation, and antimonopoly disputes. Over the past few years the team has seen an increase in debt and insolvency work, and it continues its alternative dispute resolution practice for clients in oil and gas, construction, and agriculture. Talgat Sariev is an expert in litigation and a 'fantastic tactician and negotiator'. Counsel Bauyrzhan Sharibayev, who has past experience with the Kazakhstan prosecution authorities, is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Talgat Sariev

Other key lawyers:

Bauyrzhan Sharibayev

Testimonials

‘Very strong knowledge of local law and regulation, user-friendly and responsive team.’

‘Talgat Sariev is very user-friendly and able to translate complex Kazakh issues and local challenges into direct and clear messages for international clients.’

‘Talgat Sariev actively participated in developing the case strategy and deeply understood our business drivers to provide tailor-made litigation advice. Bauyrzhan Sharibayev is a stellar lawyer for sophisticated tax dispute resolution matters. He has a quick, sharp mind and is a fantastic tactician and negotiator.’

‘To my best knowledge SIGNUM’s team is valued by clients and legal market peers for its ability to resource complex multi-jurisdictional cases.’

‘Lawyers have an exceptional dedication to the engagement and stand out in terms of responsiveness and availability. SIGNUM also works well across disciplines, bringing in specialised knowledge to address unique issues and ensure positive outcome.’

‘Our key point of communication is Talgat Sariev. He actively developed the case strategy and deeply understood our business drivers to provide tailor-made litigation advice. Based on his rich industry experience, his advice was always clear and concise, even for complicated issues. Bauyrzhan Sharibayev was also highly knowledgeable, with a strong focus on client relationships and an open-minded approach.’

‘SIGNUM has skilfully and diligently represented us. The lawyers we have relied upon have excelled at both consulting and litigating. ’

‘Since 2006 our key point of communication in the dispute resolution practice is Talgat Sariev. Talgat is technically proficient but also practical in the way he delivers his advice. He was able to explain easily complex tax matters, and highlighted areas of risk, gave recommendations to mitigate, which we value.’

Unicase Law Firm

The team at Unicase Law Firm has extensive experience litigating cases across a wide range of industries such as oil and gas, infrastructure, transport and construction, and banking and finance. Its key strengths lie in international arbitration for a number of high-profile clients in the oil and gas sectors. Practice head Artem Timoshenko is a key contact for international litigation and senior associate Aybek Kambaliyev is noted for alternative dispute resolution for clients in the energy and natural resources industries.

Practice head(s):

Artem Timoshenko

Other key lawyers:

Aybek Kambaliyev

Testimonials

‘The Unicase team provided quick and professional solutions to the issues raised. The high quality of services provided, the completeness and precision of advice, the advanced theoretical and practical skills of the team contributed to our successful cooperation, which allows us to state with confidence that Unicase Law Firm is a reliable partner.’

‘It is worth mentioning the qualification of Unicase Law Firm represented by Partner, Mr. Artem Timoshenko and Senior Associate, Mr. Aybek Kambaliyev, who provided the most convenient strategy of the case. Furthermore, the team performed a great job during the court hearings which finally lead to full enforcement of arbitral award.

Support from Mr. Artem Timoshenko and Mr. Aybek Kambaliyev was provided in a timely and professional manner, as expected from the team of an experienced and competent law firm. Very thoughtful and practical approach of the team focused on solving the problem which arose during the court hearings.’

‘The high quality of services provided in the sphere of dispute resolution, the completeness and conscientiousness of services provided, the advanced theoretical and practical skills of the team contributed to our successful cooperation, which allows us to state with confidence that Unicase Law Firm is a reliable legal partner.’

Unicase understands what the client needs and what will be the best cost-efficient strategy in the dispute resolution.’

‘It is necessary to mention the qualification of Unicase Law Firm represented by Partner, Mr. Artem Timoshenko and Senior Associate, Mr. Aybek Kambaliyev, who provided the most convenient strategy of the case.’

Key clients

Shenzhen Careall Investments Holding Group Co Ltd

Danai Pumps Co., Ltd.

SHUiCO LLP

Arysta LifeScience Great Britain Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Shenzhen Careall Investments Holding Group in the challenging the re-registration of its subsidiary subsoil user in Kazakhstan.
  • Represented Danai Pumps in the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC) in a dispute involving a large Kazakhstani EPC company.
  • Acted for SHUiCO LLP in a dispute over the breach of contractual obligations with a large Kazakhstani construction company.

Ernst & Young Kazakhstan LLP

Operating from offices in Almaty, Nur-Sultan, and Atyrau, the team at Ernst & Young Kazakhstan LLP is particularly active in commercial disputes. Based in Almaty, Dinara Tanasheva represents large multinationals and Kazakh companies in administrative proceedings, particularly regarding tax-related disputes; Borys Lobovyk focuses on contract and corporate law, as well as antitrust issues, and Aziz Abdukarimov handles tax audits and litigation.

Practice head(s):

Dinara Tanasheva; Borys Lobovyk

Other key lawyers:

Aziz Abdukarimov

Key clients

Medtronic Kazakhstan LLP

BASF Central Asia LLP

Work highlights

  • Represented Medtronic Kazakhstan LLP before the Supreme Court and prevailed against the State Revenue Authohrity’s decision on the classification of imported goods.
  • Represented BASF Central Asia LLP in a dispute with its customers due to breach of payment obligations, leading to a successful settlement during trial.

Integrites

Integrites expanded its geographical coverage in 2020 with the opening of two new offices, in Atyrau and Nur-Sultan. With experience in multi-jurisdictional litigation and mediation, the team frequently assists in pre-trial and trial proceedings, as well as representing national and international clients before state authorities. Practice head Duman Akhmetov leads on disputes matters related to corporate and contract law, real estate, and IP law.

Practice head(s):

Duman Akhmetov

Key clients

Arysta LifeScience Benelux

BIOLIFE

MM Publications

Work highlights

  • Represented the interests of Arysta LifeScience Benelux in a $900,000 arbitration related to debt collection under three supply contracts with Kazakhstan companies.

Nazkhanov and Partners

The independent dispute resolution team at Nazkhanov and Partners specialises in providing local legal assistance to corporates, especially regarding white-collar criminal law cases, as well as representing clients in civil disputes and contentious corporate and commercial issues. Managing partner Tair Nazkhanov frequently represents companies in high-stakes litigation, while Nataliya Russakova specialises in criminal and civil litigation. Oryngazy Jaboldinov is another name to note. Members of the team are fluent in English, Russian, and Kazakh.

Practice head(s):

Tair Nazkhanov; Oryngazy Jaboldinov; Nataliya Russakova; Ninel Akhmedzhanova; Pelevin Dmitriy; Abzal Kassymzhanov; Dyussembekov Darkhan; Bekesheva Dinara; Mardenov Damir

Testimonials

‘ In my opinion, the key to Nazkhanov & Partners is a combination of qualified attorneys with experience as prosecutors, judges and investigators. This enables the client to receive a full range of legal services which is the key strength of this highly professional team.’

‘I had a pleasure to deal with managing partner Tair Nazkhanov who quickly, professionally, and very clearly helped me in collecting documents and brought the matter to a logical conclusion. I am satisfied with the result of their work. This team is distinguished by mobility, energy and high professionalism, knowledge of the current legislation and consistency in work.’

‘The team is friendly and always ready to listen and share useful ideas with clients on legal matters.’

Key clients

Almatygasmontazh JSC

Namys Stroi Proekt LLP

Agrokhimiya LLP

Premium LLP

Almatyneftetech LLP

UNY Sapa Consulting LLP

Nurgaziyev Talgat

Usko Logistics International LLP

MGM-STAN LLP

BIKO LLP

Work highlights

  • Represented Almatygasmontazh JSC at a pre-trial stage in a criminal case before the anticorruption authority
  • Represented UNY Sapa Consulting in an administrative case with regard to false audit report.
  • Represented Nurgaziyev Talgat  in a civil case with regard to debt recovery.

Synergy Partners Law Firm LLC

At Synergy Partners Law Firm LLC, dispute resolution is one of three main pillars of the firm's practice. Managing partner Nurzhan Stamkulov advises on a wide range of mandates, including contracts, customs, and transfer pricing.

Practice head(s):

Nurzhan Stamkulov