Astana International Financial Centre Court and IAC Achievements and Future Plans Unveiled

ASTANA – The Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) Court and International Arbitration Centre (IAC) hosted a panel session on June 12 featuring AIFC Court Chief Justice, The Lord Burnett of Maldon, and IAC Chairman, Thomas Krümmel. They discussed their visions for the AIFC Court and IAC, highlighting the centre’s increasingly significant role in attracting investment to Kazakhstan. 

(L-R) Thomas Krümmel, The Lord Burnett of Maldon and Christopher Campbell-Holt. Photo credit: The Astana Times

Christopher Campbell-Holt, Registrar and Chief Executive at the AIFC Court and IAC, moderated the discussion. 

The participants focused on the rules and regulations governing the operations of the AIFC Court and IAC. According to Campbell-Holt, when the Kazakh President appoints judges to the AIFC Court, they must affirm their positions in accordance with the AIFC Court Regulations.

“The judicial oath that is taken by members of the AIFC court is modeled on the judicial oath that is taken in London. And one of the components of the judicial oath is to do right by everybody without fear or favor. So, that encapsulates personal judicial independence. Without fear means that, occasionally, and we have all been in this position, you have to make decisions that you know will be heavily criticized in the media, in particular, but without fear, you have to do. Without favor means that nobody gets an advantage in your court, and it should be absolutely in the DNA of anyone exercising a judicial function that their independence is something upon which their reputation rests,” said The Lord Burnett of Maldon.

The panel participants also shared their experiences and impressions about life in Kazakhstan.  

“I greatly admire the Kazakhs for what they are, for their sense of history, for their pride. And I have to say, I feel, as a German national, rather a strong tie in the way that the Germans and the Kazakhs look at things, feel about life, we are not too far apart. That is my feeling,” said Krümmel.

Lord Burnett served as the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales from 2017 until Sept. 30 in 2023. He had a broad common law practice at the Bar of England and Wales with a particular focus on public and administrative law, including public inquiries and high profile inquiries.

Thomas Krümmel is a long-standing advisor to various United Nations agencies, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, foreign states, British Forces Germany, the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence, the British and French embassies in Germany, and other diplomatic missions from all five continents.

AIFC Court and IAC activities 

Since the AIFC Court and IAC commenced operations on Jan. 1, 2018, more than 2,600 cases have been completed and enforced to the 100% satisfaction of the parties in dispute. These cases have involved all commercial dispute areas with investors from 28 countries.  

Investors conducting business in Kazakhstan from 28 countries, including most Eurasian countries and key trading partners such as China, India, and United Arab Emirates (UAE) have used the AIFC Court to resolve business disputes. Approximately 618 lawyers from 30 countries (34 jurisdictions) are registered with the AIFC Court, having rights of audience to represent parties in cases. 

The AIFC Court has premises in Astana and Almaty. Additionally, AIFC Court hearing rooms have been launched in eight countries within Eurasia: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Türkiye, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Recently, the AIFC Court and IAC opened access to premises in Beijing. 

The AIFC Court and IAC have been recognised by global investors as the preferred international dispute resolution institutions for commercial disputes in Eurasia, competing with the best international courts and centers as “deal breakers” for final investment decisions in Kazakhstan.

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