Dispute resolution in Kazakhstan

AEQUITAS

AEQUITAS focuses on complex, multi-jurisdictional commercial disputes including foreign and local commercial arbitration proceedings and cross-border litigation, and regularly acts for foreign investors in disputes with a Kazakh law element. The practice employs two ex-Supreme Court Justices; Aislou Shaikenova and Violetta Kim. Valikhan Shaikenov is head of the dispute resolution and arbitration practice, which also includes managing partner Olga Chentsova, who has represented major global oil and mining companies in claims pertaining to civil, corporate and environmental law; Chentsova also focuses on investment treaty protection issues and matters in the oil and gas, mining and construction sectors. Senior associate Ardak Idayatova specialises in civil, contract, land, tax and customs law.

Practice head(s):

Valikhan Shaikenov

Key clients

Dow Izolan

CapitaLand Express LLP

Eurasian Bank

Cilag GbmH International

Punj Lloyd

Work highlights

  • Acted for Dow Izolan in a complex debt recovery dispute against a Kazakh debtor.
  • Defended CapitaLand Express before Kazakh courts against attempts to seize a land plot based on the client’s failure to use it in accordance with mandatory requirements of law.
  • Acted for Eurasian Bank JSC in international commercial arbitration proceedings in London relating to a professional negligence dispute governed by English, US and Kazakh law.

Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP

Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP is a key adviser to the government of Kazakhstan on high-profile international arbitration and litigation proceedings, and has notable expertise in the oil and gas sector; the group recently acted for KazAtomProm on issues relating to investments and international joint venture arrangements. Askar Moukhitdinov is based in Almaty and supervises all work done by the firm's Kazakhstan office. The practice also leverages practitioners in Paris and New York to handle arbitration and litigation mandates. Nurlan Mukhitdinov was recently promoted to counsel.

Practice head(s):

Askar Moukhitdinov

Key clients

Republic of Kazakhstan

Samruk-Kazyna

Work highlights

  • Acted for the Republic of Kazakhstan in an ICSID dispute in the oil industry totalling $1bn.
  • Represented the Republic of Kazakhstan in an ICSID dispute in the pharmaceuticals industry.
  • Acting for Samruk-Kazyna JSC, the Sovereign Wealth Fund of Kazakhstan, in an action pending in federal court in the Southern District of New York.

Dentons

Dentons fields a leading dispute resolution practice in Kazakhstan, and is highly regarded for its expertise in significant international arbitration cases, acting for global and regional companies; the group recently acted for Air Astana in a significant case. Aigoul Kenjebayeva is managing partner of the Kazakhstan and Central Asia offices with experience in arbitration and litigation, while leading practitioner Kanat Skakov co-leads the dispute resolution practice in Kazakhstan. Fellow co-head Victoria Simonova and Daniyar Toigonbaev are also active in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Kanat Skakov; Victoria Simonova

Testimonials

Dentons is one of top leading law firms in Kazakhstan. It has established a strong litigation practice in Kazakhstan. I have witnessed their professionalism during disputes associated with tax and environmental cases.

Aigoul Kenzhebayev and Kanat Skakov are top ranked lawyers in Kazakhstan. Both of them are not only professional in their areas but also pave ways to improve the lawyering practice in Kazakhstan.’

Key clients

Dalmond Trade House LTD.

Kcell

HeidelbergCement AG

Air Astana

Salini Costruttori S.P.A.

Work highlights

  • Represented Kcell in its successful challenge of a copyright infringement claim.
  • Acting for Salini Costruttori in an application for the reversal of a court decision relating to debt repayment.
  • Acting for Dalmond Trade House in the enforcement of an arbitration award.

Kinstellar LLP

Kinstellar LLP is praised for its experience in complex commercial disputes, particularly cross-border matters, and also acts for clients in construction, environmental, and customs disputes. The team also frequently represents clients operating in the energy, construction and mining services sectors, and is increasingly involved in arbitration proceedings, tax disputes and criminal investigations. Mukhit Yeleuov is head of the practice in Kazakhstan and has knowledge of the energy, construction, mining and minerals, and pharmaceuticals industries, while senior associate Dina Berkaliyeva has expertise in mining, environmental protection, regulatory compliance and construction matters.

Practice head(s):

Mukhit Yeleuov

Testimonials

The Kinstellar team led by Mukhit Yeleuov is an excellent litigation team with both Kazakh and international experience.

Very strategic thinking; thoughtful and practical approach focused on solving the problem; very willing to partner with their clients; cost-effective; strong technical skill set from partners all the way down through the team.

Lead counsel Mukhit Yeleuov is outstanding, reliable and extremely pleasant to work with.

Mukhit Yeleuov is very responsive, thoughtful, technically skilled and very good to work with.

Reed Smith LLP

Reed Smith LLP acts for state bodies in high-profile dispute resolution and arbitration cases. Managing partner Belinda Paisley is a specialist practitioner in international arbitration and has led on many notable dispute resolution matters. Chloe Carswell's practice primarily focuses on investment treaty arbitration and public international law, but has expanded to also encompass transactional work and the negotiation of various agreements relating to significant construction projects in Kazakhstan.

Practice head(s):

Belinda Paisley

Baker & McKenzie - CIS, Limited

Baker & McKenzie - CIS, Limited focuses on international and local arbitration and litigation proceedings involving disputes with state authorities, including anti-monopoly and tax and custom authorities. The practice has experience in the oil and gas, energy, mining, infrastructure, agriculture and construction sectors, and leverages the firm's wider network on cross-border litigation and arbitration. Managing partner Azamat Kuatbekov has broad experience across complex litigation and arbitration matters, and newly promoted partner Alexander Korobeinikov specialises in commercial litigation and international and domestic arbitration. Andrei Yorsh focuses on IP infringement work and leads the local compliance and anti-corruption practice; he has notable expertise in compliance risk assessments, due diligence and anti-corruption investigations.

Practice head(s):

Azamat Kuatbekov

Testimonials

Very efficient and proactive, responsive to the client’s needs and result-oriented. The dispute lawyers are dedicated and focused, keeping excellent communication line and making us feel well taken care of.’

Baker & McKenzie – CIS is a client oriented firm, always adheres to client’s budget and provides a wide variety of services of good quality.

Alexander Korobeinikov is a lawyer “to come back to”. He loves what he does, knows what he does and pledges to the client’s case more than you’d expect. Highly recommend.

Azamat Kuatbekov (partner) and Alexander Korobeinikov (associate) are commercially oriented, well experienced, attentive to clients, knowledgable; provide products of excellent quality and always meet deadlines.

Key clients

Metinvest Holding LLC

KazTransGas JSC

KAZ Minerals

United Cement Group plc

Work highlights

  • Advised Metinvest Holding on the enforcement of an arbitral award totalling $16.6m.
  • Acted for KazTransGas in investment arbitration proceedings against Georgia.
  • Represented a subsidiary of KazMinerals in a dispute with the tax authorities of Kyrgzystan.

Centil Law

Centil Law handles dispute resolution and local arbitration proceedings and also assists with the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards. The practice has experienced steady growth and focuses primarily on arbitration and disputes arising from construction, energy, employment, insurance, fraud, asset tracing and white-collar crime matters. Dinara Jarmukhanova heads the practice and acts in transactional and international dispute resolution. Azim Usmanov co-heads the business advisory group and handles securities and mining litigation, alternative dispute resolution and extrajudicial settlements.

Practice head(s):

Dinara Jarmukhanova

Testimonials

Centil’s Dispute Resolution team is great to work with, as they convey confidence with high business savvy coupled with attention to detail and pragmatic competence. Thanks to their devotion and work ethic, the team proved time and again their ability to work tirelessly in stressful conditions.

Azim Usmanov leads the projects and is the first point of call. Azim’s skilful ability to work out facts in a prompt and efficient manner allowed our matter to progress swiftly and without strain. We also receive support regionally in other jurisdictions.

Key clients

Mars Kazakhstan

Siemens

Tetra Pak

Jenti-Spedition

Work highlights

  • Acted for an electronics and industrial conglomerate in contentious matters in Kazakhstan.

GRATA International

GRATA International has expertise in construction litigation, and is also notably strong in general commercial and labour litigation. In recent mandates, the team has acted as experts on Kazakh law in foreign courts. Bakhyt Tukulov heads up the dispute resolution practice, and handles all major litigation and arbitration mandates excluding tax and customs litigation. London-based senior counsel Andrew Gamble works closely with UK firms on international mandates.

Practice head(s):

Bakhyt Tukulov

Testimonials

GRATA’s team has an impressive amount of experience in litigations and arbitrations.

Bakhyt Tukulov is a highly professional specialist. He gives practical oriented advice and is always ready to answer all questions which arise.’

With Bakhyt on board, Grata significantly enhanced its practice. He is highly regarded by clients, competitors, judges and students.’

Key clients

Proctor and Gamble Kazakhstan LLP

ONGC Videsh Ltd., Kazakh Branch

Caspian Mainport Aktau, LLP

Batys-Munay, LLP

Hill International Inc.

Work highlights

  • Acted for Falconry Capital and two minority shareholders of Kazakhtelecom in a widely-publicised dispute over Kazakhtelecom’s refusal to buy back shares held by minority shareholders following the acquisition of Kcell.
  • Represented the sole shareholder of Kompetenz in a claim against the National Bank of Kazakhstan relating to its withdrawal of the company’s insurance license.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP focuses primarily on cross-border international arbitration and litigation, and has recently acted for clients in contract, oil and gas, corporate and tax disputes. The group works closely with the firm's London office, and the specialists in Almaty and Nur-Sultan frequently handle local litigation in Kazakhstan courts and arbitration tribunals. Aset Shyngyssov heads up the Kazakhstan litigation practice, and Klara Nurgaziyeva focuses on energy projects and M&A-related issues, shareholder relations and settlements.

Practice head(s):

Aset Shyngyssov

Key clients

EBRD

Telia

VTB Capital

Denholm

GE

Alstom

Airbus Group

Tau-Ken Samruk

Petrokazakhstan and CNPC

Unicase Law Firm

Unicase Law Firm is recognised for its litigation and dispute resolution practice in Kazakhstan, which has extensive experience in the oil and gas, mining, infrastructure, transportation and construction sectors; the group has been notably active for Kazatomprom and its subsidiaries. Artem Timoshenko leads the practice, which also fields Aybek Kambaliyev, who focuses on energy and natural resources, corporate, M&A and labour disputes.

Practice head(s):

Artem Timoshenko

Testimonials

Artem Timoshenko advised our clients in Kazakhstan with  a high degree of professionalism, competence, attention to detail, and strong sector-specific expertise. Thanks to his character and expertise, a number of disputes were successfully resolved.

In our opinion Unicase Law Firm is the firm which meets all needs and requirements of the client. They conduct the case in the best way of providing legal services.’

Unicase is not just good at what they do in their sectors (known to me are arbitration, energy and renewable energy), they were born with the Kazakhstan law in those sectors. They have a very deep understanding of how both practice and law works down there.

Artem Timoshenko is an outstanding specialist who combines all the necessary qualities. Artem expresses confidence and helps to find realistic and practical solutions. Artem is communicative, open and impartial. He knows how to find the essence of the problem, despite the distractions.

Key clients

Shenzhen Careall Investments Holding Group

Majority Shareholder of Petrobras Securities Litigation

SAPRUN Consulting

Work highlights

  • Acted for Shenzhen Careall Investments Holding Group on the forced re-registration of Munay Service LLP due to a change in the composition of participants.
  • Acted for Saprun Consulting on issues relating to the implementation of IT business solutions in Kazakhstan including disputes in the first and appeal instances against Standard Capital Expert regarding the recognition and collection of debts for work performed under a service agreement.
  • Represented Arysta LifeScience Great Britain in a pre-trial settlement of a dispute with an accounting consultancy firm.

Deloitte TCF, LLP

Deloitte TCF, LLP provides clients with assistance in filing appeals and lawsuits, and drafts advisory opinions. With cross-border and industry experience, the group also routinely handles negotiations with tax authorities and assists with customs issues. Agaisha Ibrasheva  heads up the department, which also includes Olessya Kirilovskaya, who has substantial knowledge of legislation in Kazakhstan, particularly oil and gas and environmental regulations.

Practice head(s):

Agaisha Ibrasheva

Ernst & Young Kazakhstan LLP

Ernst & Young Kazakhstan LLP acts for major international and local companies before courts and state authorities, primarily in appeals to tax audit results. Practice leader Dinara Tanasheva advises on corporate and finance, tax and customs issues in the oil and gas, banking, consumer products and retail and public health sectors. Borys Lobovyk specialises in M&As, antitrust, contract, corporate, commercial, IP, IT and data privacy mandates.

Practice head(s):

Dinara Tanasheva

Key clients

BASF Central Asia

Integrites

Integrites' dispute resolution practice has experience in multi-jurisdictional litigation and arbitration, and other alternative dispute resolution methods including mediation. Team head Duman Akhmetov mainly coordinates contentious mandates related to corporate matters, contract law, antitrust regulation, real estate and IP law; he also has experience in pre-trial and judicial disputes and the enforcement of foreign judgements and arbitral awards. Kurmangazy Talzhanov focuses on pre-judicial and judicial disputes, arbitration proceedings and negotiations with public authorities.

Practice head(s):

Duman Akhmetov

Key clients

Eurasian Switch Company LTD

Global Chemicals Company LLP

Mobil-Stroy LLP

Work highlights

  • Represented Hamle Company in a complex dispute regarding the payment of penalty under SPA of goods.
  • Acted for Mobil-Stroy in a complex land and real estate dispute.
  • Acted for Juldyz Kenan Co. on issues relating to the circulation of medical devices.

Linkage & Mind LLP

Linkage & Mind LLP fields a 'thorough and ambitious' team, which advises clients on all stages of state court and arbitration proceedings in Kazakhstan. The group handles corporate and commercial disputes, including uranium mining, investment holdings, foreign projects, agriculture, construction, and oil and gas litigation. Managing partner Yerzhan Manasov is an expert in energy and natural resources litigation, and real estate and construction disputes. Madina Sypatayeva is also a key name to note.

Practice head(s):

Yerzhan Manasov

Testimonials

Linkage & Mind has a team capable to provide sufficient advice on Kazakh law matters, including tax, custom and general legal issues. The team is flexible and meets deadlines. These skills stand out in the market.

Nazkhanov and Partners

In Almaty, Nazkhanov and Partners' team handles complex litigation cases and includes former judges, officers of law enforcement, and lawyers specialising in arbitration. Managing partner Tair Nazkhanov is substantially experienced in Kazakh, Russian, and English law; Nataliya Russakova specialises in criminal and civil law; and Oryngazy Jaboldinov is a specialist in corporate and civil claims, tax mandates and natural resources issues. Abzal Kassymzhanov handles a range of dispute resolution and arbitration proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Tair Nazkhanov; Oryngazy Jaboldinov; Nataliya Russakova;

Testimonials

Nazkhanov and Partners is well known as very good in commercial and criminal litigation cases.’

The team is always ready to provide legal assistance promptly and professionally.’

Abzal Kassymzhanov provides realistic scenarios and real assistance in complex litigation cases.

Abzal Kassymzhanov has all the skills and experience needed to protect investors’ interests before state authorities at a high level.’

Tair Nazkhanov and Abzal Kassymzhanov are always client-oriented and fully understand clients’ needs. They both provide high-profile legal assistance and duly protect clients’ interests at court.

Key clients

RGK Production Kazakhstan LLP

Trans Trail Group LLP

Jet Airlines JSC

UK LLP

CASK LLP

Russell Bedford Partners LLP

Work highlights

  • Acted for RGK Production Kazakhstan in a dispute with a local tax authority before the specialised inter-district economic court of Almaty city.
  • Represented Trans Trail Group in a dispute with a private party before a local court.
  • Acted for Jet Airlines JSC in a dispute with a registration authority in the economic court of Almaty city.

PricewaterhouseCoopers Tax & Advisory LLP

PricewaterhouseCoopers Tax & Advisory LLP acts for clients in tax disputes, including criminal cases on tax evasion, and also has notable expertise in specific areas spanning the energy, oil and gas, infrastructure and construction sectors; the practice also handles inspections by state authorities and appeals of inspection results. Based in Nur-Sultan, newly promoted partner and group head Dana Tokmurzina counts a number of blue-chip companies as clients, and senior manager Nursultan Nurbayev represents multinational and Kazakhstan companies in tax disputes.

Practice head(s):

Dana Tokmurzina

Sayat Zholshy & Partners

Based in Almaty, Sayat Zholshy & Partners is a key 'exceptional' name for antitrust, corporate and tax mandates, and also focuses on disputes against government authorities as well as complex banking litigation. The 'professional' team also fields practitioners with attorney-at-law status, which allows them direct involvement in criminal proceedings. Newly promoted senior partner Vitaliy Vodolazkin leads the dispute resolution practice and has acted for clients from a range of sectors including phosphorous businesses, leading Kazakhstan banks, telecoms providers and oil companies.

Practice head(s):

Vitaliy Vodolazkin

Testimonials

The SZP dispute resolution team is a team of very professional litigators. They provide exceptional, extraordinary and high level legal advice in the most complex disputes. They always achieved a good result for us.

Sayat Zholshy & Partners are very detailed and active which is absolutely necessary in litigation.

Vitaliy Vodolazkin is our key contact in SZP. He is very experienced and well known litigator in the Kazakhstani legal market. His advice is always unique and categorical, even for our opponents.

Vitaliy Vodolazkin is very straightforward, knowledgeable, and very trusted.

Key clients

Caspian Beverage Holding JSC

Eurasian Foods Corporation

Resmi

Halliburton

Expro Group

Avaya

Philip Morris

Beeline

Work highlights

  • Acted for Caspian Beverage Holding in a civil lawsuit against Golden Rill Trade relating to trade mark issues.
  • Acted for a leading insurance company in claims relating to an outstanding insurance payment, totalling $5m.
  • Represented a leading railway and oil carriage operator in a dispute arising from the termination of an agreement for the lease of rolling stock maintenance assets.

SIGNUM Law Firm

SIGNUM Law Firm has recently acted in several high-profile international arbitrations in Kazakhstan and also represents international companies in Kazakhstan and national businesses in complex tax litigation, bankruptcy litigation and debt recovery cases. Group head Talgat Sariev  is a 'well-known name in the market' with 'a high level of expertise' and focuses on litigation and international arbitration for clients in the oil and gas and mining sectors, and senior associate Saltanat Kemalova primarily acts in telecoms, leasing and chemical sector disputes.

Practice head(s):

Talgat Sariev

Testimonials

SIGNUM‘s ligation team gathered together many-sided experts. A client might benefit from the synergy within the team with a combination of strengths of each member secures a comprehensive approach to problem solving. A diversity of styles also allows the team to allocate the right lawyer for a specific task.’

Sofiya Zhylkaidarova is well-known name in the market and always takes proactive, strategic and result-oriented approach to each project. In the stressful environment of settlement negotiations or of litigation, she provides a client with confidence and calmness. Her extended experience in tax disputes and disputes with the state authorities allows her to control the whole process closely.

Talgat Sariev is always ready to offer a client high-level expertise and attention to detail. His critical thinking skill is crucial for drafting client’s case and refuting that of the opponent. His self-control wins him sympathy of his clients. When formulating a case strategy, he effectively assesses the situation, identifies and focuses on the right key strategic tactics by thinking though all possible options, and aligns all of this with us as a client.

Key clients

IBS Project LLP

Work highlights

  • Acted for IBS Project, a banking card manufacturer, in the bankruptcy proceedings of a major bank in Kazakhstan.
  • Acted for a subsidiary of a medical device company in the enforcement of foreign court judgements in Kazakhstan.
  • Represented an optical fibre producer in a tax dispute.

Synergy Partners Law Firm LLC

Dispute resolution is one of Synergy Partners Law Firm LLC's three main areas of expertise alongside notable M&A and corporate experience. Managing partner Nurzhan Stamkulov handles contractual, taxation, customs, transfer pricing, and IP mandates, and Alzhan Stamkulov focuses on corporate, commerce, trade, M&A and taxation work.

Practice head(s):

Nurzhan Stamkulov; Alzhan Stamkulov

Testimonials

Synergy Partners always give very precise answers and practical action plans. They are truly professional. They are very responsive and always available for their clients. They have a great understanding of the needs of their clients and very deep knowledge of Kazakh legislation and practice. We highly recommend Synergy Partners for dispute resolution, corporate, employment matters.’

Nurzhan Stamkulov is very responsible, competent and friendly. He is always responsive and ready to help on any matters. We trust him and his sharp advice. He has an in-depth knowledge of legislation and practice.’

Key clients

Chocofamily Holding LLC

The Committee of State Property and Privatization of the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Kazakhstan

Work highlights

  • Provided legal support for Chocofamily Holding on the internet tourism project merger between Chocofamily Holding and Avita, with a general turnover valued at $100m.
  • Assisted in privatisation of the National Scientific Medical Center, provided legal support to the state authorities on corporate and M&A issues, and arranged the privatisation procedures.