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Litigation and Dispute Resolution in Kazakhstan

Сourt System and Court Proceedings

Kazakhstan’s court system comprises three tiers of courts: (i) Specialized District Courts and General District Courts; (ii) Appellate Courts; and (iii) the Supreme Court.

In Kazakhstan proceedings are normally publicly open. Any interested party may participate in court proceedings and record the proceedings, except that a court’s approval is required for video filming. In a number of situations where the proceedings concern state secrets or where a party requests the court to hold proceedings in closed sessions to ensure the confidentiality of private life, commercial secrets or other information protected by the law, the court may declare that proceedings be held in a closed format where the general public is not allowed.

Dispute Settlement Options

Kazakhstan law provides for the following forms of protection of businesses’ rights:

  • judicial, in accordance with the civil procedural legislation of Kazakhstan;
  • out-of-court settlements;
  • non-judicial forms: (i) arbitration (either institutional or ad hoc); (ii) mediation; (iii) in accordance with the participatory procedure without a judge through negotiations between the parties with a view to facilitating dispute settlement by attorneys of both parties.

Kazakhstan’s Membership in International Treaties Relating to Dispute Resolution

Kazakhstan ratified the following international treaties relating to the dispute resolution:

  • 1958 New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (New York Convention);
  • 1965 ICSID Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes Between States and Nationals of Other States;
  • 1994 Energy Charter Treaty.

Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards

As Kazakhstan is a party to the New York Convention, foreign arbitration awards are generally recognized and enforceable in Kazakhstan, subject to the qualifications provided in the Convention.

Grounds for Refusal to Enforce of Foreign Arbitral Awards

As a matter of law, when reviewing an arbitral award enforcement application, the Kazakhstan court has no right to check the lawfulness and substantiation of the award itself. It must just verify that there are no grounds for refusal to enforce it.

The provisions of the civil procedural legislation setting out the grounds for refusal to recognize and enforce arbitral awards correspond with those contained in the New York Convention.


Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments

As a matter of law, foreign court judgments may be subject to recognition and enforcement in Kazakhstan, provided that there is respective international treaty between Kazakhstan and the country whose courts rendered the judgment.

Kazakhstan has some multilateral and bilateral treaties with certain foreign jurisdictions on recognition and enforcement of foreign judgements, such jurisdictions include: Russia, Ukraine, CIS countries, Turkey, China, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, Mongolia and United Arab Emirates. However, Kazakhstan does not have similar international treaties with the most developed countries (including, among others, UK, USA and most of the EU member states).

Local Arbitration Institutions in Kazakhstan

There are certain local reputable arbitration institutions in Kazakhstan which are actively involved in dispute resolutions settlement. Such institutions include, among others: Kazakhstan International Arbitration (Almaty), International Arbitration Court under the Chamber of Commerce of Kazakhstan (Almaty) and International Arbitration Court of the Juridical Centre “IUS” (Almaty). Noteworthy that such arbitration institutions are usually chosen by the residents of Kazakhstan as a venue of dispute resolution. While the contractual arrangements between foreign investors and their local Kazakhstan partners, as a rule, set out the foreign arbitration institutions as venue for dispute resolutions (i.e. LCIA etc.).

If you would like further information, please contact:
Kamil Jambakiyev
Partner, Almaty
ADM Valner LLP

Tel.: +7 (727) 390 11 01


The provided information does not constitute formal legal advice and should not be relied upon without further consultation with legal advisors.