The first AIFC Legal Education Week in Astana

From 18 to 23 June the AIFC Court and the International Arbitration Centre at the AIFC, in cooperation with the AIFC Bureau for Continuing Professional Development, is holding their first AIFC Legal Week(“Legal Week”) in Astana.

Legal Week comprises three intensive training programs delivered by world-class common law academics and law practitioners from the University of Cambridge, University College London, and the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution. The programs are attended by more than one hundred law, financial, and other business professionals from a variety of industry sectors in the Eurasia region.

The first program was a two-days program entitled “International Commercial Law for Finance Professionals and Lawyers” and was delivered in Astana at KAZGUU University during 18-19 June 2018 by Dr. Marc Moore, Director of the Masters in Corporate Law (MCL) degree and Co-Director of the Centre for Corporate and Commercial Law (3CL) in the Faculty of Law at the University of Cambridge. This program explored a range of key issues including common law method, the law of contract, capital markets regulation, and corporate governance.

Dr. Marc Moore commented:

“Participants were encouraged to understand common law less as a rigid body of rules that constrains commercial activity and more as a dynamic structural framework that can potentially be utilised and adapted in accordance with contracting parties’ own private needs and preferences.”


The second program was a two-days program entitled “Introduction to the English Common Law” and was delivered in Astana on 19-20 June at the Eurasian National University by Professor Dame Hazel Genn, Professor of Socio-Legal Studies and former Dean in the Faculty of Laws at University College of London (UCL). The program provided an introduction to the functions of law and the history of the common law, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary, the doctrine of precedent and case reading, and statutory interpretation.

Professor Dame Hazel Genn commented:

“I’m very glad to see that my course raised a significant interest in the professional legal community of Kazakhstan. For example, a certain number of people, senior associates, and partners from leading international and local law firms came from Almaty specifically for this course. I’m sure that the skills and knowledge which they received during the two-days of lectures will be beneficial for their current job. I hope they won’t stop their studies of the English common law system with my course and will continue it by themselves”.


The third program is a six-days program to provide accredited mediator skills training and is delivered in Astana at KAZGUU University by the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR), a global standard of excellence for mediation training and facilitator of mediations of international business disputes. Twelve Kazakh national participants were selected by the AIFC Academic Council during a competitive interview process. At the end of the program after the final assessment the participants will be awarded the internationally recognised CEDR accredited mediator skills qualification.

All of the programs are designed to encourage Kazakh lawyers and business professionals traditionally from a civil law background to think and reason like English common lawyers, especially in relation to commercial and business disputes.

Christopher Campbell-Holt, Registrar and Chief Executive of the AIFC Court and the International Arbitration Centre, commented:

“Legal Week provides a unique opportunity for the first time in Kazakhstan and the Eurasia region for concentrated multiple common law training to be delivered by leading common law academics and practitioners. We are delighted to welcome so many participants not just from Kazakhstan but also from various countries within the Eurasia region. We are extremely fortunate and grateful to partner with leading law schools in Astana at KAZGUU and the Eurasian National University, CEDR, and academics from the University of Cambridge and UCL. The feedback already received from the participants is such that the AIFC Court and IAC now expect to provide continued comprehensive legal and dispute resolution education programs in Astana, in addition to distinguished lectures on the common law that are regularly given by the judges of the AIFC Court in partnership with state and commercial partners.”




The AIFC. The AIFC was established on the initiative of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev. In December 2015 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 of financial services. The objectives of the AIFC are to attract investment into the economy through the establishment of an attractive environment for investment in the 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. It 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 final 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. The AIFC Court applies the most up to date and efficient case management practices.

The International Arbitration Centre, Astana (IAC) is an independent legal entity. It has its own procedural rules modelled on English common law procedures and leading international practice. It has its own panel of world leading arbitrators and mediators comprising many years of arbitration and mediation experience in such areas as oil and gas, trade, construction, energy, Islamic finances, banking, copy right and other areas of civil and commercial law. IAC arbitration awards are enforced in Kazakhstan via the AIFC Court and internationally.

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