Kazakh President Appoints New Chief Justice of AIFC Court

ASTANA – President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has appointed The Lord Burnett of Maldon as the Chief Justice of the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) Court, the AIFC’s press service reported on Nov. 3.

Photo credit: AIFC.

Lord Burnett was appointed upon the retirement of Lord Mance, who served as the Chief Justice of the AIFC Court from Jan. 1, 2020 until Oct. 31, 2023.

During Lord Mance’s term, the AIFC Court has established itself as a prominent international commercial court, handling a significant caseload and issuing 87 judgments enforced to 100% satisfaction within Kazakhstan without involving national courts.

Investors with business in Kazakhstan from 27 countries, including major corporations Chevron, Shell, NCOC, and Caterpillar, chose the AIFC Court to resolve business disputes.

“There is growing recognition from investors in Kazakhstan and more widely throughout Eurasia that the Court can be trusted for independent and impartial justice applying the highest international standards of commercial law expertise and with the strictest adherence to the rule of law,” Lord Mance said.

Lord Burnett served as the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales from 2017 until Sept. 30, 2023. Alongside his legal practice at the Bar of England and Wales in the 1980s, he was Counsel to high-profile inquiries, including the inquest into the 1997 deaths of Diana, Princess of Wales, and Dodi Fayed.

Lord Burnett expressed his commitment to maintaining the AIFC Court’s reputation for independent justice and strict adherence to the rule of law.

The AIFC Court also elevated Justice Tom Montagu-Smith KC from the AIFC Small Claims Court to the senior AIFC Court and appointed two new Judges, Josephine Higgs KC, and Saima Hanif KC, as Justices of the AIFC Small Claims Court.

Established on Jan. 1, 2018, the AIFC Court is an independent legal entity with its own procedural rules modeled on English common law procedures and leading international practice. It does not have jurisdiction concerning criminal or administrative disputes. It applies the most up-to-date and efficient case management practices.

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