On May 5, the first meeting of the Legal Advisory Council – an advisory body established under the Astana International Financial Centre – was held at the Embassy of Kazakhstan in the UK. The meeting was attended by Mr Kairat Kelimbetov, Governor of the AIFC; Mr Erlan Idrissov, Kazakh Ambassador to the UK; the Rt Hon Lord Woolf, advisor on establishing the court and centre for settling disputes at the AIFC; as well as senior representatives from UK top law firms.
Speaking at the meeting, Ambassador Erlan Idrissov noted that the AIFC is a global project proposed by President Nursultan Nazarbayev in his ‘Plan of the Nation’. This plan outlines 100 concrete steps for implementing the five institutional reforms aimed at establishing a favourable environment for Kazakhstan’s economy in order to attract foreign investment and provide financial services in line with global best practice. Mr Idrissov stressed the importance of creating an independent judicial system at the AIFC, which will be based on English law.
Mr Kairat Kelimbetov, Governor of the AIFC, said the work of the Legal Advisory Council – made up of qualified experts with practical experience in English law – will play a critical role in developing the AIFC General Legal Framework and ensuring its successful operation. He stressed that it was important for the AIFC to benefit from the Council’s experience, noting that companies like Baker McKenzie, Devonshires, Hogan Lovells, Michelmores, Norton Rose Fulbright, and White & Case were represented.
The Council will review draft legislation applicable to the AIFC. The legislation will be modelled on English common law and international best practice to ensure the highest standards of independence, transparency, and free market principles are met. The legislation will be enacted by an independent Court and Arbitration Centre within the AIFC.
Representatives from the UK law firms participated in the meeting, noting the AIFC’s potential and expressing a keen interest in the English common law standards.
The Astana International Financial Centre is an initiative of Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev. The AIFC aims to become a leading international centre for financial services; to develop local capital markets; and to develop markets for insurance and banking services and for Islamic financing in Kazakhstan.