AIFC Court and IAC Registrar awarded Honorary Professorship

Mr. Christopher Campbell-Holt, the Registrar and Chief Executive of the AIFC Court and International Arbitration Centre (“the IAC”), has been awarded an Honorary Professorship by the M. Narikbayev KAZGUU University (“KAZGUU”) in recognition of the significant contribution he has made to the development of the University.

The award also recognizes Mr. Campbell-Holt’s contribution to the establishment of the common law system at the AIFC, the AIFC Court which is an independent common law commercial court, and the International Arbitration Centre. This is the first common law system, common law court, and international standard arbitration centre, to be established in Central Asia.

Previous recipients of the Honorary Professorship at KAZGUU include leaders from Central Asian and international academia, politics, diplomacy, and business.

Mr. Talgat Narikbayev, Rector and Chairman of the Board, M. Narikbayev KAZGUU University, stated:

“Mr. Christopher Campbell-Holt has made a significant impact on legal education of the M. Narikbayev KAZGUU University. He also has become an integral part of the academic community of our University.”


Mr. Campbell-Holt commented:

“It has been my pleasure and privilege to engage with KAZGUU and to meet its immensely impressive students. The AIFC Court and IAC very much look forward to continuing their close cooperation with KAZGUU as they continue to develop the Kazakhstan lawyers of the future while applying the very best international standards.”


In 2018 the AIFC Court and IAC cooperated closely with KAZGUU in the following ways:

  • KAZGUU hosted a series of distinguished lectures on the English common law and AIFC Court common law procedures. The lectures were given by Lord Woolf, the AIFC Court Justices, and Ms. Barbara Dohmann QC.
  • Also, KAZGUU hosted and participated in the AIFC Court and IAC’s 2018 “Legal Week”, which was also held in partnership with the AIFC Bureau for Continuing Professional Development. During “Legal Week” an intensive program on English commercial law was delivered to law students and senior practicing lawyers by Dr. Marc Moore, Director of the Masters in Corporate Law degree program at the University of Cambridge. KAZGUU also hosted throughout “Legal Week” the AIFC Court and IAC “Accredited Mediator Skills Program” which was provided by the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution headquartered in London. Twelve Kazakh law and business professionals completed this highly regarded international standard mediator qualification as a part of the AIFC Court and IAC’s efforts to create an international standard mediator community in the Republic of Kazakhstan.
  • KAZGUU hosted the 2018 AIFC Court and IAC Moot Competition Final. The competition involved a common law problem requiring analysis and oral presentation of legal arguments applying common law principles in front of two AIFC Court judges, The Rt. Hon. Sir Robin Jacob and the Rt. Hon. Sir Stephen Richards, and an AIFC Court Visiting Judge and former Deputy President of the UK Supreme Court, The Rt. Hon. The Lord Mance. The Moot Final was attended by more than two hundred guests including H.E. The Minister of Justice of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Mr. Marat Beketayev, H.E. The UK Ambassador to the Republic of Kazakhstan, Mr. Michael Gifford, and other distinguished guests including from the Judicial Academy of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kazakhstan.


KAZGUU has a very successful history of law school mooting in the Republic of Kazakhstan and internationally with particular success at the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition in Washington DC. Mr. Campbell-Holt also assisted as presiding judge at a separate KAZGUU International Mooting Competition.

In 2019 the AIFC Court and IAC will continue to cooperate with KAZGUU to deliver their international standard common law education and professional lawyer training programs to meet the needs of Kazakhstan lawyers in the Republic of Kazakhstan and other lawyers in Central Asia.




Mr. Campbell-Holt has considerable experience as a commercial lawyer and founder of law institutions in the UK, US, Middle East, and Eurasia, including as a founder member of the Centre for Ethics and Law at University College London. He was the Registrar at a commercial common law court in Qatar under the Presidency of Lord Woolf and he has lectured and published widely. He was educated in Law (LLB) at University College London and is a CEDR accredited mediator.

The AIFC was established on the initiative of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev. In December2015 President Nazarbayev approved the Constitutional Statute “On the Astana International Financial Centre” (AIFC). The aim of the AIFC is to establish a leading international centre for financial services. The objectives of the AIFC are to attract investment into the economy through the establishment of an attractive environment for investment in financial services, develop local capital markets, ensuring their integration with the international capital markets.

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 independentfrom 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 inwriting 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 mediationexperience 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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