AEQUITAS is particularly well versed in major cross-border disputes for which the firm regularly joins forces with foreign firms through law network TerraLex. Established in 1993, the firm demonstrates particular strength in commercial arbitration and investment arbitration, with construction, employment and insurance disputes accounting for a significant portion of the recent caseload, including matters from the oil and gas sector. The team includes advisors with experience as representatives and arbitrator in arbitration proceedings, including those held under the auspices of the LCIA, ICC, UNCITRAL, GAFTA, SCC and International Commercial Arbitration Court (ICAC). The Almaty-based Ardak Idayatova and managing partner Olga Chentsova direct the practice, which includes a former justice of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Violetta Kim. Since publication, Valikhan Shaikenov and Aislu Shaikenova left the firm.
Dispute resolution in Kazakhstan
Ardak Idayatova; Olga Chentsova
Other key lawyers:
‘Very knowledgeable and insightful.’
‘Willingness to fully realise their abilities for solving problems; striving to obtain the best possible result; achievement of the set goals, despite the obstacles.’
‘Ardak Idayatova has great potential.’
Unilever Kazakhstan LLP
Leighton Agrio Ltd.
Anahata Solutions S.R.O.
Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP Curtis Mallet: Is particularly well known for its international arbitration practice, with experience including proceedings before ICSID, ICC and UNICTRAl. The group stands out through its focus on acting for the state and state-owned entities whom it assists with disputes in the oil and gas sector as well as with disputes arisen from the mining of natural resources such as gold. The wider disputes practice also includes litigation, both in Kazakhstan and abroad, with a particular focus on French and US courts as the lead quintet of the practice consists of Askar Moukhitdinov in Almaty and Nur-Sultan, Peter Wolrich and Geoffroy Lyonnet in Paris and Eric Gilioli and Hermann Ferre in New York.
Askar Moukhitdinov; Peter Wolrich; Geoffroy Lyonnet; Eric Gilioli; Hermann Ferre
‘The team’s ability to grasp the primary issues and principles of a dispute, however obscure and complex, is exemplary.’
The Republic of Kazakhstan
- Secured a favourable award for the Republic of Kazakhstan in arbitration proceedings arisen from claims brought by a Canadian mining company regarding the termination in 1997 of a 1996 management contract relating to certain gold mines in Kazakhstan, involving novel issues in treaty-based arbitration, raising the question whether Kazakhstan is bound by the 1989 USSR-Canada bilateral investment treaty.
- Represented the Kazakh Ministry of Investments and Development in a road construction dispute under the ICC Rules, securing rejection of the vast majority of the claims.
- Represented KazAtomProm in a Section 232 investigation regarding duties on imports for uranium, securing a successful outcome for the client.
Dentons' versatile practice includes commercial, corporate, tax and, increasingly, administrative disputes. The group is highly sought after by companies in disputes against the state, notably in investment disputes, and has experience in a wide range of international arbitration proceedings and litigation. In addition to its expertise in intellectual property disputes, the team is also well versed in employment, contract and real estate disputes. Daniyar Toigonbaev is the head of the practice which includes Aigoul Kenjebayeva, the managing partner for Kazakhstan and Central Asia, and Victoria Simonova, an expert in infrastructure projects. Counsel Artur Utarbayev is noted for his strength in litigation. Kanat Skakov left the firm in December 2020.
Other key lawyers:
Aigoul Kenjebayeva; Victoria Simonova; Artur Utarbayev
‘The strengths of the department as a whole are: 1. high work efficiency, 2. responsiveness in solving current problems, 3. high quality of services provided, 4. a large team of professionals.’
‘The main positive quality of these lawyers (Artur Utarbayev, Daniyar Toigonbaev) is the ability to quickly analyse the situation and present a solution in a short time. They are good at representing our interests in court.’
‘The team is hands-on and very responsive at all times. They provide detailed advice and are very happy to guide and support through the process.’
‘Victoria Simonova in particular has gone to great lengths to provide us with support. She responds to our questions in a timely manner, patiently explaining the necessary processes to us with great clarity. They agreed to our requirements as to billing arrangements, stuck to fee estimates and warned us in advance if these might be exceeded.’
Citic Construction Ltd.
Orda Glass LLP
- Represented Orda Glass LLP in court against the tax authority in a dispute related to the client’s activities under an investment contract, securing a successful outcome.
- Represented KazZinc LLP in court against the tax authority, involving proceedings before the Supreme Court and the Regional First Instance Court, securing a successful outcome.
- Represented EBRD in a dispute against Kagazy Recycling LLP (KR), the borrower under the loan agreement, and its 100% parent company, Kazakhstan Kagazy JSC (KK), who provided its 100% participation interest in KR to EBRD as a pledge.
Kinstellar LLP focuses on complex commercial disputes, especially cross-border in nature, with environmental disputes, construction, customs and tax disputes as well as employment disputes also featuring heavily in the caseload. The team is growing its arbitration and criminal investigations practice, the latter including fraud and corruption investigations. With a number of clients from the oil and gas and mining sectors on its client roster, the practice is a particularly good choice for disputes arising in these sectors. The group frequently works in unison with international firms, both as local counsel for Kazakh law or as co-counsel.Mukhit Yeleuov in Almaty heads the practice which includes senior associate Dina Berkaliyeva, an expert in environmental law.
Other key lawyers:
‘Highly professional, dedicated team.’
‘The individuals are very keen to support every aspect of a business. They demonstrate great time management and effectiveness. Very much dedicated to work.’
‘They have demonstrated profound and in-depth knowledge in all aspects of ecological regulations, including emissions.’
‘Among very strong and experienced partners, I would point out Mukhit Yeleuov and senior associate Dina Berkaliyeva. Both provide excellent service and have in-depth knowledge. Both are very energetic and highly capable as litigators in many areas, which makes them two of the top lawyers in KZ.’
Reed Smith LLP
Reed Smith LLP's Kazakh dispute resolution practice rests on the shoulders of Belinda Paisley who specialises in international arbitration, with a particular focus on disputes between investors and the state.
SIGNUM Law Firm
SIGNUM Law Firm stands out through its focus on advising foreign companies on disputes arisen from their business in Kazakhstan. The practice is developing very well, with a client roster that is growing at impressive speed, and demonstrates particular strength in tax litigation, commercial and antitrust disputes, as well as international arbitration, including the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitration awards in Kazakhstan. Talgat Sariev and Sofiya Zhylkaidarova are the heads of the practice.
Talgat Sariev; Sofiya Zhylkaidarova
‘We preferred to work with SIGNUM Law Firm because we have found that they handle the matters with utmost professionalism and they cooperate with their clients with transparency. The strengths of the department as a whole are their professionalism and the ability to communicate with us timely and effectively in a transparent manner.’
‘Talgat Sariev’s main strengths are that he acted quickly and responded to our inquiries as soon as possible every time. The team works very devotedly and keeps the communication with the client intact.’
‘Talgat Sariev is a superb dispute resolution strategist and litigator. He is a practical thinker and an experienced manager who supervised the smooth implementation of the dispute resolution strategy.’
Unicase Law Firm acts for state entities, Kazakh and international companies as well as international financial institutions. The group has a strong track record of international arbitration proceedings across a wide range of sectors, including the oil and gas, mining, infrastructure, real estate and construction sectors. Insurance and telecommunications disputes are also handled. The team also includes criminal defence and insolvency experts. Practice head Artem Timoshenko is based in Almaty.
‘In comparison with other firms we have worked with before, they have a truly personal approach. You feel that your cases and your problems are truly in the focus of their attention. That is the difference, you have a personal approach by the partners, rather than just passing the case to the firm.’
‘We would like to mention their unique communicational qualities and strong skills in dispute resolution.’
‘Unicase is a law firm with well-coordinated team work, accuracy, high professionalism of employees, responsibility and efficiency in the provision of services. The services of the team were provided in a timely and professional manner, as expected from employees of an experienced and competent law firm.’
‘Artem Timoshenko confirmed his high professional status, competence in legal matters and activeness in solving the assigned tasks.’
‘Unicase is one of the leading law firms in Central Asia. It has one of the strongest local teams, which demonstrates a high level of theoretical knowledge and practical skills. Unicase has performed the services as a highly organised team of professionals, having shown competence in legal matters and actively providing solution of objectives.’
‘Artem Timoshenko showed himself as a responsible and competent lawyer with great experience in dispute resolution and also provides valuable and detailed advice.’
Shenzhen Careall Investments Holding Group Co Ltd
Danai Pumps Co., Ltd.
Arysta LifeScience Great Britain Limited
Aprile SPA (Italy)
- Represented the interests of Aprile SPA, an Italian client offering services on full coverage in all fields of logistics, in respect of debt recovery from a Kazakhstani logistics company.
- Advising SHUiCO LLP on a dispute arisen from the breach of contractual obligations with a large Kazakhstani construction company.
Baker & McKenzie - CIS, Limited
Baker & McKenzie – CIS, Limited focuses on international and domestic arbitration proceedings as well as litigation. The team impresses with the wide range of its expertise, offering a dedicated arbitration team in Alexander Korobeinikov, Alissa Inshakova and Yana Daloglu , a specialist practice in tax and custom disputes shouldered by Igor Kolupayev and Inshakova, employment litigation experts in Korobeinikov and Kuben Abzhanov, and expertise in IP disputes, with a particular focus on patent disputes. Andrei Yorsh and Nurgul Abdreyeva are the key contacts for the latter. Additionally the practice offers extensive sector expertise, including in the oil and gas, mining, pharmaceutical, infrastructure and construction sectors. The group is very well versed in disputes against state authorities, including the anti-monopoly, customs and tax authorities, and is a popular choice for investment protection disputes. Its experience in administrative and criminal proceedigs as well as in enforcement proceedings and its ability to draw on the expertise of complementary teams in fraud, financial crime and regulatory investigations are further assets. Azamat Kuatbekov and Korobeinikov form the duo at the helm of the practice.
Azamat Kuatbekov; Alexander Korobeinikov
‘The team offers diverse expertise across the CIS and Central Asia region, including Russia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. Very responsive and always go the extra mile.’
‘Andrei Yorsh and Alexander Korobeinikov are experts in their field, unflappable and highly credible as expert witnesses. You definitely want them on your side.’
‘The firm provides high-quality products; is quite flexible in billing; very much reliable in terms of deadlines; always ready to help.’
‘All people I worked with are client-oriented and they have excellent knowledge of the company’s history in the country, in addition to their excellent knowledge of domestic and international law.’
United Cement Group
Lukoil Lubricants Central Asia
Cochlear Limited Europe
- Represented Everlight Electronics in one of the first complex investment litigation proceedings in Kazakhstani courts (including the Supreme Court) relating to the termination of the public-private partnership agreement with the regional authority Pavlodar regionalakimat.
- Represented United Cement Group Plc. in complex multiparty settlement proceedings on the settlement of ICSID arbitration, brought by the former owners of the Kazakhstani cement holding United Cement Group Plc (‘UCG’) against Uzbekistan in connection with the expropriation of assets and shares in Uzbek cement plants Kuvasaicement JSC and Bekebadcement JSC owned by UCG.
- Represented the interests of the Kazakhstani subsidiary of Lukoil following more than four years of court and arbitration proceedings on a dispute with its contractor, Shar Kurylys LLP, in connection with the construction of its production facilities in the Almaty region (Kazakhstan).
Centil Law's practice revolves around litigation and local arbitration, with a particular focus on investment disputes. The group is also adept at acting as local counsel in international arbitration proceedings and has a proven track record of successfully assisting clients with the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitration awards in Kazakhstan. Enforcement proceedings and disputes arisen from administrative violations over the course of such proceedings are other areas of strength. In addition to its commercial disputes practice, the team also frequently acts in matters from the energy, construction and insurance sectors. Employment and white-collar disputes are also handled. Dinara Jarmukhanova is the head of the practice.
Entegre Satek Electronik A.S.
Lever X (Russia)
Sace SRV Srl
HID Global CID SAS
Obshchepit RK LLP
- Advised a Chinese manufacturer of electric trains on proceedings brought against a a municipal company for damages caused by improper conduct of tenders and misinforming the client.
- Represented Entegre Satek Electronik A.S., the subcontractor in the Abu Dhabi Plaza project, in its arbitration in Abu Dhabi arbitration centre in proceedings against the the general contractor Arabtec.
- Advised an international pharmaceutical company in connection with incorrect classification of its products by customs authorities and related increased taxes for the company.
GRATA International’s mainstays are construction, commercial and employment disputes. The group’s experience includes real estate, regulatory and white-collar mattes. In addition to its busy caseload before Kazakh courts, the team is increasingly active as experts in foreign courts, including arbitral courts. Askar Konysbayev and Assel Ilyasova in Almaty are the lead duo. The team also includes two former judges and London-based senior counsel Andrew Gamble.
Askar Konysbayev; Assel Illyasova
‘Very high-qualified team with a professional and responsive approach to clients.’
‘Assel Ilyassova is a strong manager and leader of the group.’
‘Strong team, client-oriented, high level of responsibility, strong ability to find solutions.’
‘Client-oriented, keep in touch 24/7, high level of professionalism.’
‘Grata is a team of young, but highly qualified professionals. They have proven themselves professionally in all areas of legislation. The advantage is that the company has international work experience and excellent knowledge of not only local legislation, but also international norms and rules.’
‘Askar Konysbayev has professionally proven himself in representing the interests of our company in court.’
‘They provide quick answers.’
Procter and Gamble Kazakhstan LLP
ONGC Videsh Limited, Kazakh Branch
Maersk Oil Kazakhstan Gmb, Kazakh Branch
OMV Petrom, Kazakh Branch
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
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP focuses on cross-border litigation and arbitration, frequently joining forces with the firm’s London office. Exclusively Kazakh disputes, including arbitration proceedings, are a growing line of work. The group’s expertise includes construction, oil and gas, corporate and tax disputes. The Almaty-based Aset Shyngyssov, managing partner and general director, is the head of the practice.
‘They have a very strong, skilled and professional team led by Aset Shyngyssov. They are responsive and practical, and always get to the core of the issue. I and my colleagues can rely on Morgan Lewis and recommend them without reservations.’
Compass Group/Eurest Support Services
Skytanking Holding GmbH
Sayat Zholshy & Partners primarily acts for international clients, often in conjunction with international law firms in need of local counsel. Tax, corporate and antitrust disputes constitute the heart of the practice, but the firm also demonstrates strength in disputes involving financial institutions, insolvency and restructuring matters, construction and real estate matters as well as investment disputes. Senior partner Vitaliy Vodolazkin in Almaty is the head of the practice which includes Amir Begdesenov, whose expertise includes competition and IP matters with a particular focus on the energy and natural resources sector, and Yelena Tyureikina as the key tax expert.
‘We believe that Sayat Zholshy has a strong litigation practice and is skillful in resolving disputes with government authorities. Their dispute resolution team is very professional and focused on the client.’
‘Senior partner Vitaliy Vodolazkin has an excellent knowledge of law, Kazakhstani court practice and understanding of our industry.’
‘We always got clear advice, recommendations, and support during all stages of litigation.’
‘Vitaliy Vodolazkin is really hard-working and fully client-oriented, and he has impressive experience in dispute resolution.’
‘Sayat Zholshy has a winning, dedicated and very talented litigation team. Partner engagement in all our cases is exceptional. The firm has lawyers in various branches of law which allows us to cover all our needs. Sayat Zholshy & Partners’ dispute resolution team is the best in antitrust and tax disputes. They have close relationships with many leading international law firms and strive for their high standards.’
PSN KazStroy JSC
Batys Techno Services LLP
Area Plus JV Ltd
Eurasian Foods Corporation
RG Brands Kazakhstan
- Represented Nomad Insurance in several proceedings to appeal the claims of Kazakhstan customs authorities.
- Represented Area Plus JV Ltd in court, including the Supreme Court, in a dispute regarding the forfeiture of an aircraft, securing a successful outcome for the client.
- Represented Eurasian Foods Corporation in an antitrust investigation and dispute with the Kazakhstan Antitrust Authority.
Tukulov & Kassilgov Litigation LLP
Established in 2020, disputes boutique Tukulov & Kassilgov Litigation LLP specialises in commercial litigation, including insolvency disputes, intellectual property and IT-related disputes, and tax and customs litigation. The group’s sector experience includes the financial services, pharmaceutical and electronics sectors. Bakhyt Tukulov, Ravil Kassilgov and Nataliya Shapovalova direct the practice.
Bakhyt Tukulov; Ravil Kassilgov; Nataliya Shapovalova
‘They are very sharp. Dispute resolution and insolvency work are their key strengths. They are very cost-effective.’
Minority shareholders of KazTransCom JSC
- Represented eight major suppliers of electronics, including Samsung, Huawei, Oppo and Sulpak, in a dispute with Eurasian Rightsholders’ Union (ERU).
- Represented Nadejda Kim, a patent holder for the automated taxi ordering system, and GTaxi LLP, a licensee of the client, in an ongoing dispute with a Russian multinational.
- Represented minority shareholders (shareholder activists) of KazTransCom, a major telecoms operator in Kazakhstan, in a dispute with a 95% shareholder, arisen from claim damages brought by the clients following a squeeze-out procedure.
Artyushenko & Partners Boutique Law Firm
Artyushenko & Partners Boutique Law Firm focuses on real estate and construction disputes. The firm assists with development, investment and management disputes in litigation and arbitration proceedings, including FIDIC contract litigation. Andrey Artyushenko and Gulnar Ospanova in Almaty are the heads of the practice.
Andrey Artyushenko; Gulnar Ospanova
Saraiva + Associados
Perviy Dom Stroy
- Assisted Kryzha Azii with litigation in local courts against a general contractor.
Deloitte TCF, LLP is a particularly good choice for tax disputes, including disputes involving customs issues, tax audits and tax audit appeals. Other areas of strength are commercial and environmental disputes, including those against state entities. Adept at litigation and arbitration, the practice takes on domestic and cross-border matters, frequently joining forces with colleagues from the firm’s many offices abroad. Additionally, the practice is experienced in administrative and enforcement proceedings. Agaisha Ibrasheva in Almaty is the head of the practice. Director Olessya Kirilovskaya, whose expertise includes oil and gas and construction disputes, is also noted.
Other key lawyers:
Olessya Kirilovskaya; Dariga Tokpayeva
Ernst & Young
Integrites assists with cross-border litigation, arbitration and mediation proceedings, with particular strength in corporate and commercial disputes, antitrust disputes and disputes involving real estate and IP as core specialisms of Almaty-based practice head Duman Akhmetov. The caseload frequently includes disputes against state entities. The group is also adept at assisting with the recognition of foreign arbitral awards and with enforcement proceedings. In addition to its Almaty office, the firm also has an office in Nur-Sultan.
Arysta Life Science
Universal Build LLP
Adal Shart LLP
KTZ National Company JSC
- Represented Arysta LifeScience in arbitration with a Kazakhstani company regarding debt recovery from several supply contracts.
- Represented a client in a dispute arisen from the claim of the military unit of the Republic of Kazakhstan of recognising the client as an unfair participant in public procurement and collecting the amount of debt for the delay in the delivery of liquefied gas tanks. CHECK MATTER DETAILS
- Assisted KTZ National Company JSC with drafting a memorandum on the recognition and execution of the decision of a Spanish court on the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Nazkhanov and Partners
Nazkhanov and Partners specialises in civil, criminal and tax litigation. The practice acts for companies and individuals, notably entrepreneurs, managers and accountants, in a wide range of disputes, including white-collar matters. The team is composed of lawyers, former judges and former law enforcement officers. The key contacts are Tair Nazkhanov, Oryngazy Jaboldinov, Nataliya Russakova, Pelevin Dmitriy, Abzal Kassymzhanov, Dyussembekov Darkhan, Mardenov Damir and Baurzhan Akhmetov, all based in Almaty.
‘Abzal Kassymzhanov has all the skills necessary to convince judges to deliver justice.’
‘The team of Nazkhanov Tair and Abzal Kassymzhanov really helped me in my litigation case. The team proposes good advice on complex commercial matters.’
‘I worked closely with Abzal Kassymzhanov and I note his very high-level communication and litigation skills.’
‘I’d like to note Abzal Kassymzhanov as a dedicated lawyer who is always ready to help and listen to clients’ needs.’
‘Abzal Kassymzhanov delivers legal service on a really high professional level and advises clients on complex litigation matters.’
‘Tair Nazkhanov and Abzal Kassymzhanov were always ready to listen to us and provide detailed advice. In a short time, the team developed a strategy plan, and our weak points transformed into strengths in court. Thanks to the professional work of the team we won.’
‘I particularly note Abzal Kassymzhanov as a solid and dedicated litigator. Abzal is remarkable for his drafting and communication skills. Both Tair Nazkhanov and Abzal Kassymzhanov are magnificent orators and leaders their field.’
‘Abzal Kassymzhanov truly understands clients’ needs and does everything to represent clients on a high level.’
UNY Sapa Consulting LLP
IT Integra LLP
Shinhan Finance LLP
Dena Rekhsaz LLP
- Represented UNY Sapa Consulting LLP at a pre-trial stage in a criminal case before the investigation authority in a fraud case, securing dismissal of the case.
- Represented AlmatyGazMontazh LLP at a pre-trial court in a criminal case.
- Represented IT Integra LLP in a criminal case at a pre-trial investigation with regard to fraud.
Synergy Partners Law Firm LLC was particularly active in commercial disputes, including intellectual property litigation, as well as in construction- and real estate-related matters. International arbitration proceedings, for example before the Arbitration Center of the National Chamber of Entrepreneurs ‘Atameken’, is another area of strength. Counsel Ali Dautalinov and Nurzhan Stamkulov, both based in Almaty, are the heads of the practice.
Ali Dautalinov; Nurzhan Stamkulov
‘Synergy Partners Law Firm were very understanding and responsive, and with their help, my issue resolved very quickly. They have an amazing responsive team of professionals.’
‘Nurzhan Stamkulov was highly professional and fulfilled all of his promises and my expectations. His answers and advice were precise and accurate. He understood my needs very well.’
‘We enjoy working with Synergy Partners team. The team is highly responsive, and they provide us with clear and precise answers.’
‘We are working with Nurzhan Stamkulov and Ali Dautalinov and would like to point out the high professionalism of these lawyers. We would also like to note that these lawyers have incredible analytical skills. They always offer us different options, and explain all consequences of such options, which help us to make the right decision.’
‘Synergy Partners have strong commercial awareness and demonstrate good knowledge of running business in the country.’
‘Synergy Partners is organised in a very professional way ready to serve the needs of international clients. They know and have a good feeling of business requirements of international companies operating in the local market.’