AIFC Court and IAC present their results in 2020

The AIFC Court and IAC commenced their operations on 1 January 2018, overall 296 cases have been resolved. In 2020 the AIFC Court and IAC successfully resolved 291 cases. 12 cases were filed at the AIFC Court and 9 judgments were given. 282 arbitration and mediation cases were resolved at the IAC. There was a significant increase in arbitration cases, but most cases were resolved via mediation. The success of the resolution of case disputes via mediation at the IAC reduced the need for further arbitration or litigation of those cases.

The cases involved parties from 11 countries including from Kazakhstan (including from 11 different cities and regions within Kazakhstan), Russia, China, Uzbekistan, and the UK. The subject matters of the disputes involved issues of contract, non-payments, debt obligations, other finance, services provision, employment, and property (including land). The applicable laws included the laws of the AIFC, Kazakhstan, and Russia.

All judgments and arbitration awards were successfully enforced in Kazakhstan to 100% satisfaction using the AIFC Court’s unique step by step procedure for efficient enforcement.

From March 2020, in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the AIFC Court and IAC moved all of their work to online status and ensured that there was no disruption to their day-to-day operations and services provision. All disputes at the AIFC Court and IAC were managed and resolved electronically free of charge to the case parties using the AIFC Court’s and IAC’s world leading digital technology with eJustice for all case management and video technology for pre-trial hearings and trial hearings.

222 lawyers registered with the AIFC Court for rights of audience. The lawyers came from 23 countries (25 jurisdictions) including from the US, UK, Europe, Central Asia, Africa, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. The AIFC Court and IAC are now recognised by the international legal community throughout the world.

In addition, the AIFC Court and IAC model dispute resolution clauses were included in more than 4000 business contracts, most notably in contracts involving Chevron and Tengizchevroil LLP. This was a result of the AIFC Court’s and IAC’s initiative to increase the number of corporations that choose the AIFC Court and IAC as their number one choice for commercial dispute resolution in Central Asia.

The AIFC Court and IAC signed 31 MOUs with local and international dispute resolution centres, lawyer associations, and training partners. 31 webinars were hosted by the AIFC Court and IAC via the AIFC Court and IAC Webinars Programme 2020 and lectures were given by the Chief Justice, IAC Chairman, Registrar and Chief Executive, the AIFC Court judges, and the IAC arbitrators and mediators. The AIFC Court and IAC held two mock trial competitions in 2020 with participation from law schools from Kazakhstan and the wider CIS region. More than 2000 Kazakh nationals were trained to international standards on dispute resolution by the AIFC Court and IAC.

Mr. Christopher Campbell-Holt, the Registrar and Chief Executive of the AIFC Court and IAC, commented:

“2020 has been a remarkable year for the AIFC Court and IAC. Despite the challenges that were presented by the COVID-19 global pandemic, our dispute resolution facility, particularly our online offering, proved to be attractive to businesses and business people around the world. We achieved significant case numbers, successful enforcement of judgments and arbitration awards, and wider contributions were made to the Kazakh and Central Asia legal and business communities with new partnerships agreed and extensive training programmes delivered. We achieved more at this stage of our operations than we expected and compared to similar dispute resolution centres at other international financial centres. We have ambitious plans for the future and look forward to 2021.”




The Astana International Financial Centre was created by the initiative of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Leader of the Nation, Nur-Sultan Nazarbayev as part of the “100 steps to implement five institutional reforms” national program.

The Centre’s development strategy until 2025 was approved by the Management council of the AIFC during the council’s meeting on July 2, 2020.

In accordance with the strategy, the vision of AIFC is in becoming the leading financial centre in the region that includes Central Asia, the Caucasus, EAEU countries, western China, Mongolia, and Eastern Europe.

The mission of the AIFC is in assisting the sustainable and long-term development of the region. As the head of state Tokayev noted, “AIFC, with its unique opportunities, can act as a universal platform that connects the countries in the region”.

The strategic directions for the sustainable development of the AIFC include the development of a circular economy, financial technologies, and “digital financial centre”.

The AIFC Court is an independent legal entity. It has its own procedural rules modelled on English common law procedures and leading international practice. The AIFC Court is separate and independent from the courts of the Republic of Kazakhstan. It consists of two tiers: a Court of First Instance, which includes a specialist division known as the Small Claims Court; and a Court of Appeal. It has exclusive jurisdiction over disputes arising out of the activities and operations of the AIFC and jurisdiction in the case of other disputes in which all parties agree in writing to give the AIFC Court jurisdiction. It does not have jurisdiction in relation to any disputes that are of a criminal or administrative nature. It applies the most up to date and efficient case management practices.

The International Arbitration Centre (IAC) is an independent legal entity. It has its own procedural rules modelled on best international practice. It has its own panel of leading international arbitrators and mediators having many years of arbitration and mediation experience in commercial law, including oil and gas, trade, construction, energy, financial services, banking, Islamic finance, insurance, and intellectual property. IAC arbitration awards are recognised and enforceable in Kazakhstan and internationally.

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