AEQUITAS > Astana, Kazakhstan > Firm Profile

Astana International Financial Centre
55/22 Mangilik El Avenue, C-4.3, Office 134
Astana 010017

Kazakhstan > Dispute resolution Tier 1

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.

Practice head(s):

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.’

Key clients

Unilever Kazakhstan LLP

Leighton Agrio Ltd.

Anahata Solutions S.R.O.

Kazakhstan > Real estate and construction (including projects) Tier 1

AEQUITAS  has a strong track record advising clients on the construction of major industrial and social facilities and large residential complexes in Kazakhstan. Clients also turn to the firm for advice on project finance transactions, as well as construction litigation and arbitration. It has recently become a member of the global law network TerraLex and acts for clients such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Nurlan Sholanov , Ardak Idayatova and Olga Chentsova work with a number of international clients across different areas of the real estate and construction sector. Since publication,  Valikhan Shaikenov left the firm.

Practice head(s):

Olga Chentsova; Nurlan Sholanov; Ardak Idayatova

Key clients

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)

Eurasian Development Bank (EDB)

Islamic Development Bank (IsDB)

Work highlights

  • Advised international development banks on the BAKAD project finance and assisted the international project finance structure.

Kazakhstan > Banking, finance and capital markets Tier 2

AEQUITAS has operated a banking and finance practice since 1993, in which time it has advised clients on business and security transactions, bank loans and acquisition of assets. Lawyers are also able to advise on Islamic finance and alternative financing instruments. It has recently become a member of the global law network TerraLex. Almaty-based partners Yelena Manayenko and Nurlan Sholanov work with a number of international clients across different areas of the banking sector.

Practice head(s):

Yelena Manayenko

Nurlan Sholanov


‘Deep analysis, practical examples and client management.’

‘Good knowledge of underlying matters, operative feedback and working to strict deadlines.’

Key clients

Syndicate of lenders comprising European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) and Islamic Development Bank (IsDB)

Bank of Montreal

Dolphin Corp


Work highlights

  • Acted as a local legal counsel, advised international development banks on the BAKAD project finance and assisted in adapting the international project finance structure to the Kazakhstan legal environment. The lawyers drafted and reviewed from a Kazakhstan legal perspective and assisted in negotiating the project and financing agreement
  • Advised Bank of Montreal on the proposed transactions of precious metals and base metals with certain entities in the context of lending and inventory financing arrangements.
  • Assisted with the transaction on purchase of derivatives by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group from Pension Funds and State Institutions of Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan > Commercial, corporate and M&A Tier 2

AEQUITAS has been active in providing legal support for M&A transactions. The practice has participated in the development of the most important acts in the development of Kazakhstan’s corporate legislation, such as the civil code, law on limited and additional liability partnerships and law on joint stock companies. It has recently become a member of the global law network TerraLex. Almaty-based partners Yelena Manayenko , Yuliya Chumachenko and Nurlan Sholanov work with a number of international clients across different areas of the energy and natural resources sectors.

Practice head(s):

Nurlan Sholanov; Yelena Manayenko; Yuliya Chumachenko


‘The Aequitas team applies an individual approach to support us. All tasks are done timely and of proper quality. There is a system to monitor and notify clients about needed updates or changes.’

Overall, we appreciated their responsiveness, clarity and ability to comply with the instructions provided and meet relevant deadlines.’

‘They are always available for any kind of support and fast in giving feedback and answers. We very much appreciated their proactiveness and standing. In particular, I’d like to highlight the fact that all their materials were written excellently.’

Key clients


HavasKazakhstan LLP


Dornier MedTech GmbH



Work highlights

  • Advised KDV Group LLC on the issues of statutory regulation of trading activities in the Republic of Kazakhstan, including the work of an online store and pick-up points and comparative analysis of potential corporate forms of presence in the Republic of Kazakhstan.
  • Assisted with the entry to the Kazakhstan market of a subsidiary of TAV Airports Holding, which effected the transaction involving the acquisition of Almaty Airport.
  • Advised Bird & Bird LLP and Pfizer on the issues of Kazakhstan legislation in connection with the transfer of employees and prepared draft labour documents relating to the termination of laborrelations between Pfizer and employees.

Kazakhstan > Energy and natural resources Tier 2

AEQUITAS' team has experience of advising clients on mineral exploration and production contracts with the Kazakh government. The practice specialises in subsoil use and its clients include leading mining and processing companies. Practitioners are also able to advise on Islamic finance and alternative financing instruments. The firm has recently become a member of the global law network TerraLex. Almaty-based partners Yelena Manayenko and Nurlan Sholanov and managing partner Olga Chentsova work with a number of international clients across different areas of the energy and natural resources sectors.

Practice head(s):

Yelena Manayenko; Nurlan Sholanov; Olga Chentsova

Work highlights

  • Advised the largest Italian oil company on issues of occupational safety and health, including preparation of draft documents for the appointment of responsible persons, as well as issues of vaccination of employees and sanitary rules applicable to the company, including in the conditions of a pandemic.

Kazakhstan > Tax and customs Tier 3

AEQUITAS is active in local and cross-border tax matters, with its work encompassing tax disputes and the drafting of IFRS-compliant accounting tax policies. Its team has experience of advising large pharmaceutical companies and oil exploration ventures on tax matters, in addition to undertaking due diligence work for companies active in areas such as logistics and transportation. The firm has recently become a member of the global law network TerraLex. Almaty-based partners Yuliya Chumachenko and Ardak Idayatova are the names to note.

Practice head(s):

Yuliya Chumachenko; Ardak Idayatova

Key clients

Сompany KDV

AEQUITAS, a Kazakh national law firm, was founded in 1993. One of the founding partners was Professor Yuri G. Bassin, Doctor of Law, a forefather of civil law science in Kazakhstan.

In the early 90s, AEQUITAS was one of the first firm’s to provide legal support both to foreign investors coming to Kazakhstan’s market and to those starting domestic businesses. The first joint ventures with foreign participation in Kazakhstan were organized with AEQUITAS providing the legal support.

AEQUITAS is one of Kazakhstan’s leading law firms acknowledged in the global legal services market. For many years, authoritative legal guides, such as Chambers & Partners, The Legal 500, and Who’s Who Legal, have rated AEQUITAS,  its partners and associates as the country’s most recommended law firm.

AEQUITAS’ clients are companies active in the leading sectors of economy from more than 50 countries, including major international corporations, companies representing world famous brands, banks and financial institutions, most of them have worked with AEQUITAS for many years.

AEQUITAS lawyers have been actively participating in the development and improvement of the most important legislative acts governing market relations and business activities in Kazakhstan. This allows the firm not only to keep abreast of potential amendments in legislation, but also to influence, to a certain extent, the making of the rules of the game.

The firm has offices in Almaty and Astana (Kazakhstan).

In 2019, AEQUITAS has become an AIFC Participant, and is doing business in the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) as AEQUITAS Law Firm (AIFC Branch) and providing legal services under the commercial license No. AFSA-O-CD-2019-0063.  The branch office is located in the same building as the AIFC Court and International Arbitration Center.

Our values

Our values are the key principles our practice and team relationships are built upon.

We take pride in unswervingly discharging our responsibilities when helping clients and business partners achieve their goals. We take pride in being trusted. We are appreciated for high quality services, honesty, transparency and efficiency. We aspire for leadership, upholding traditions and finding new solutions, and seek to meet and exceed expectations.

We value our people and care about them. We trust each other. We believe in each one’s personal contribution to the general cause. Our firm is blessed with an atmosphere of mutual respect, team spirit and everybody’s high involvement, which are the fundamentals of our continuing success.

Over almost 30 years of its successful practice, AEQUITAS has accumulated respectable professional experience and theoretical knowledge in the areas most sought after when doing business in Kazakhstan, which enables its lawyers to navigate clients through the most complex legal issues. World famous companies trust and cooperate with AEQUITAS.

The key areas in which AEQUITAS, year after year, enjoys deserved recognition as the leading and most recommended law firm in Kazakhstan, include business law, corporate law, banking and finance, natural resources and environmental, labor & employment, and M&A.

Certain areas of the firm’s practice have altered – AEQUITAS has always been quick to respond to changes in the legal regulation and economy and seeks to develop and enhance the areas of practice most in demand by clients during certain historical periods of time. In the 90’s the firm’s important area of practice was legal support of privatization projects. AEQUITAS lawyers were advising the largest foreign investors and governmental agencies in the course for privatization of the country’s major enterprises and facilities. In recent years, the firm’s actively developing areas of practice are healthcare, medicine and pharmaceuticals, and the potentially popular – public-private partnership.

The firm has gained a most positive reputation in such areas as insurance, mass media, customs, and many others.

AEQUITAS lawyers are also ready to assist individual clients in matrimonial and inheritance law matters, providing services that involve the drafting of various contracts and court documents, as well as client representation in court.

Business law. A large portion of AEQUITAS ’s day-to-day practice comprises services relating to the legal support of its clients’ businesses. The firm’s lawyers are assisting clients in diverse matters — from the drafting of contracts to due diligence of companies.

Corporate law. AEQUITAS’ corporate law practice started at the same time as the adoption of the new Kazakhstan’s legislative acts on legal entities, and with the establishment of Kazakhstan’s first joint ventures with foreign capital participation in 1993.

Banking and finance. AEQUITAS ’s long-standing clients are the world’s leading investment and commercial banks, state-owned organizations, international payment systems, institutional investors and other players in the capital markets.

Environmental. AEQUITAS’ environmental practice is one of Kazakhstan’s strongest. The key clients using aequitas environmental legal services are the leading local and international companies active in the construction, industrial production and subsoil use sectors in Kazakhstan.

Natural resources. AEQUITAS is particularly proud
of its subsoil use practice. AEQUITAS ’s experience in the natural resources area is domestically unique, as the firm partook in the national-significance projects and projects completely new to Kazakhstan.

Labor and employment. AEQUITAS’ labor law practice is the best in Kazakhstan. The firm’s lawyers are advising on most intricate issues unregulated by local legislation. AEQUITAS possesses extensive experience in defending both employers and employees, in and out of court.

M&A. AEQUITAS’ M&A practice was launched together with the privatization of the key entities of Kazakhstan’s economy in the early 90s. The firm’s legal support accompanied the largest subsoil deals in Kazakhstan.

Competition and antitrust. AEQUITAS’ antitrust practice dates back more than ten years. The firm boasts dozens of successful approvals of M&A transactions significant to Kazakhstan’s economy. AEQUITAS’ lawyers are perfectly familiar with the legislation and the law-application and judicial practice and can address most complex aspects of the national and supra-national antitrust legislation application.

Regulatory compliance. The advent of large foreign companies to the Kazakhstani market increasingly brings the term ‘compliance’ into practice. Although management of legal and compliance risks is still an under explored domain, AEQUITAS has amassed a considerable experience in this area.

Construction and real estate is one of AEQUITAS’ oldest and most active areas of practice, accumulating the firm’s impressive experience. AEQUITAS has contributed its legal support to projects involving construction of major industrial and social facilities and large residential compounds in Kazakhstan.

Infrastructure projects. Public-Private Partnership (PPP). AEQUITAS is regularly supporting infrastructure projects of great importance for different sectors of the Kazakhstan economy: energy, transportation, mining, etc. Regardless of the industry and project complexity, the firm’s lawyers possess sufficient experience and knowledge to promptly render legal services necessary to implement the project. Taking into account the state policy pursued in this area and the clients’ interest, AEQUITAS is paying most serious attention to PPP matters.

Healthcare, medicine and pharmaceuticals. Legal services in the field of healthcare is AEQUITAS’s actively developing area of practice. The firm’s lawyers are rendering all-round support to large pharmaceutical companies coming to the Kazakhstan market for their business establishment and development.

Industry and trade. AEQUITAS has amassed noteworthy expertise advising clients active in the production, distribution, marketing and sale of consumer and industrial goods, including contract drafting and negotiation, client representation before governmental agencies and dispute settlement.

Transport and merchant shipping. The firm regularly advises clients on a variety of issues pertaining to legal regulation of transportation activities in Kazakhstan. AEQUITAS is one of the few local law firms possessing experience in the merchant shipping area.

Agriculture. In the past several years, AEQUITAS’ lawyers have been advising the leading banks and financial companies, such as BNP Paribas, Société Générale, HSBC France, as well as major local agricultural producers, on various issues of trade finance secured by grain and cotton collaterals in Kazakhstan.

Dispute resolution. AEQUITAS has a successful dispute resolution practice, representing clients in the Kazakh courts at all levels, including in cases involving financial instruments, debt restructuring, construction contracts, employment, transportation and insurance.

Technology, media & telecommunications (TMT). AEQUITAS’ clients, in differing IT and communications projects, have been the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan and major international cellular, landline and postal operators.

Law-making. AEQUITAS’ partners and associates are engaged, on a regular basis, to participate in the law-making activities to develop new acts and improve current legislation. The Civil Code, Foreign Investment Law, Privatization Law and Petroleum Law and other Kazakh legislative acts have been developed with AEQUITAS participation.

Law-Making Olga (727) 3 968 968
Construction & Real Estate, Infrastructure Projects & Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Ardak (727) 3 968 968
Corporate law, Agriculture, Antitrust Nurlan (727) 3 968 968
Labor & Employment, Healthcare, Medicine & Pharmaceuticals, Industry & Trade, Transport & Merchant Shipping Yuliya (727) 3 968 968
Banking & Finance, Environmental, M&A Yelena (727) 3 968 968
Almaty : 18
Astana : 1
International Bar Association (IBA)
Kazakhstan Bar Association
Ius Laboris - Global Human Resources Lawyers Alliance
Kazakhstan Petroleum Lawyers Association (KPLA)
TerraLex (

AEQUITAS Law Firm when carrying out its’ activities ensures compliance with the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion and prevents any discrimination towards its’ employees, candidates for employment and clients. Since the local legislation does not provide for any diversity and inclusion programs in companies, AEQUITAS does not have such policies and programs. However, we support any initiatives of our employees and clients on this issue and fully share the principles of equality for various segments of the population.