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Asia Guide

Dispute Resolution — Kazakhstan

Band 1

第一等

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Basic facts about the department
- Heads of Department: Kanat Skalov and Victoria Simonova
- 3 partners
- 8 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Substantial disputes practice, acting for domestic and international financial institutions, industrial manufacturing companies and oil and gas corporates. Represents clients across a broad range of contentious corporate and financial issues, including debt recovery, contractual and labour disputes and disputes with state authorities.

Notable practitioners 

Kanat Skakov enjoys a high reputation for his tax litigation practice and also acts on a broad range of financial issues, including debt recovery, customs payment disputes and transactional payment disputes. Sources praise his detailed approach, one saying: "He has the technical skill. I would rate him highly."

Managing partner Aigoul Kenjebayeva is "very well respected" and well known for her frequent representation of major multinational clients in Kazakhstan-related disputes. She is particularly focused on the energy and construction industries and well known for her familiarity with arbitration proceedings. 

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Band 2

第二等

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Basic facts about the department
- Head of department: Valikhan Shaikenov
- 2 partners
- 5 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Reputed domestic team with extensive experience of representing clients in a broad range of domestic disputes in the oil and gas and services industries. Other areas of expertise include IP, construction and labour disputes and contractual and corporate issues. The team is also frequently engaged to provide Kazakh law expertise in international arbitrations.

Strengths Sources value the practice for a variety of excellent qualities, one describing them as: "Meticulous, highly responsible, commercially aware, utterly reliable and a tremendous pleasure to work with."

The team is also praised for its combination of detailed knowledge with responsiveness: "They have a profound understanding of the problem at hand and grasp all aspects thereof. They have good knowledge of procedural issues and ensure seamless and prompt communications."  

Significant clients ED&F Man, ExxonMobil, Grain Export, Punj Lloyd, VTB Bank.

Work highlights Successfully acted for Can Agri in the arbitration of a EUR260,000 debt recovery claim and the subsequent recognition of the arbitral award by a Kazakh court.

Successfully represented Granite Services International in a dispute concerning the allegedly unfair dismissal of an employee.

Notable practitioners 

Former judge Violetta Kim is widely recognised as "the leader of the litigation market in Kazakhstan." She lends her considerable expertise to high-value disputes where she represents large international corporate clients.

Managing partner Olga Chentsova maintains a strong reputation for a disputes practice of two decades' standing and continues to act on high-value construction disputes.

Practice head Valikhan Shaikenov has been called "one of the younger stars" in the disputes market. Increasingly visible in the market, acting for both international and domestic clients, he is also characterised as: "A guy you'd go back to. He's solid, commercially viable and gives realistic advice." 

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Band 2

第二等

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Basic facts about the department
- Head of department: Azamat Kuatbekov
- 1 partner
- 4 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Compact practice, fielding a comprehensive range of commercial dispute services. The team is widely recommended for its sophisticated dispute resolution offering, particularly in the oil and gas and FMCG sectors, and is fully connected to the resources of the Baker & McKenzie international arbitration practice.

Strengths The practice is commended for its thorough grasp of subject matter and highly efficient responsiveness, clients noting that the lawyers "have excellent knowledge of the law and industrial specificities" and praising "their timeliness and the completeness of their answers to our questions." 

Notable practitioners

Managing partner Azamat Kuatbekov is widely recognised for his litigation work and acts for clients involved in a broad range of commercial disputes across the energy, construction and natural resources sectors.

Associate Alexander Korobeinikov is a well-known and "very experienced" presence in the disputes market. He represents clients involved in a broad range of disputes and sources view the diversity of his practice as a strength, one observing: "He has in-depth knowledge of arbitration procedures and state court procedures as well." 

Associate Andrei Yorsh is a notable market player, praised for his "results-oriented approach" and excellent presentation skills. His key areas of strength include IP and tax disputes.

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Band 2

第二等

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Basic facts about the department
- Head of department: Sergei Vataev
- 1 partner

What the team is known for Frequently advises domestic and international clients in the oil and gas spheres and is particularly experienced in advising on tax and customs issues. Also represents clients in complex commercial disputes and construction litigation.

Notable practitioners  

National partner Sergei Vataev is widely recognised as "a very active" practitioner with experience of handling "very complex matters" to Supreme Court level. Sources also highlight his diverse experience as a key strength, one reporting: "He's involved in a broad range of disputes and has a good reputation." He is particularly prominent in commercial disputes arising from the oil and gas sectors.

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Band 2

第二等

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Basic facts about the department
- Heads of department: Bakhyt Tukulov and Assel Ilyassova
- 2 partners
- 5 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Close focus on financial disputes, including debt recovery and taxation matters, and on damages claims in IP disputes. Acts regularly for international and domestic oil and gas corporates as well as players in the pharmaceutical and technology sectors and remains a popular choice for international law firms requiring domestic representation or Kazakh law advice in international arbitrations.

Strengths Sources particularly value the team's ability "to effectively bridge the gap between local Kazakh and international matters."

The practice's handling of client relations is also praised, one referee characterising it as "flexible and willing to find solutions suitable for everyone." 

Significant clients Atlas Copco, LG Electronics, Maersk Oil, Pfizer, Procter and Gamble. 

Notable practitioners  

Practice head Bakhyt Tukulov enters the table, having been highlighted by numerous sources for his high level of activity, sharp strategic and tactical insight and dedication to client interests, one interviewee reporting: "If you had him on your team then he would give you a creative approach, he wouldn't leave any stone unturned."

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Band 2

第二等

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Basic facts about the department
- Head of department: Talgat Sariev
- 1 partner
- 4 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Maintains its strong track record representing clients' interests in tax and customs disputes as well as other contentious issues with state authorities. The practice is also noted for its handling of commercial disputes involving contractual and debt recovery issues and niche strength in the environmental sphere. 

Strengths The team's dedication to client service is highlighted by a number of contributors, one identifying "an attentive, client-oriented, creative approach" and "an ability to provide customised solutions," another stating: "They are highly focused on clients’ needs and understand industry specifics." 

Swift responsiveness is another admired trait, one source characterising the practice as "always ready to give assistance even at short notice," another describing it as "very mobile and responsive." 

Significant clients BASF, Cheminova, Inkai, GDF Suez, PepsiCo.

Notable practitioners  

Department head Talgat Sariev is a noted litigator who regularly represents energy clients in disputes with state authorities. Clients value him as an adviser who is both "focused on straightforward issues" and "into the detail" and can "answer the specific issues we have."

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Band 3

第三等

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Basic facts about the department
- Head of department: Vitaliy Vodolazkin
- 8 partners
- 22 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Stands out for its handling of antitrust issues; also experienced across a wide range of dispute types, including corporate and contractual issues, IP matters and disputes with state authorities. Represents heavyweight local clients and significant international corporate entities.

Work highlights Represented Chagala Group, a provider of residential and business accommodation and logistical services to the oil and gas industry in the Caspian region, in an indexation dispute with a lessee.

Acted successfully for RG Brands in a dispute with one of its managers over bonus payments, securing outcomes in the client's favour in proceedings in a number of Kazakh courts. 

Significant clients Danone, Halliburton, Resmi Group, Sberbank, Tengiztransgas.

Notable practitioners 

Managing partner Vitaliy Vodolazkin is noted for his pragmatic approach to disputes, one interviewee reporting: "He has very good knowledge of the client's business. He's very responsive and he provides the response in a way, and in the timeframes, we need." His flexibility is also praised by an interviewee who notes: "He can offer not just one way, but two, three, four options to solve a problem."

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Senior Statesmen

Aequitas Law Firm

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Former judge Violetta Kim is widely recognised as "the leader of the litigation market in Kazakhstan." She lends her considerable expertise to high-value disputes where she represents large international corporate clients.

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Eminent Practitioner

Aequitas Law Firm

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Managing partner Olga Chentsova maintains a strong reputation for a disputes practice of two decades' standing and continues to act on high-value construction disputes.

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Band 1

Dechert LLP

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

National partner Sergei Vataev is widely recognised as "a very active" practitioner with experience of handling "very complex matters" to Supreme Court level. Sources also highlight his diverse experience as a key strength, one reporting: "He's involved in a broad range of disputes and has a good reputation." He is particularly prominent in commercial disputes arising from the oil and gas sectors.

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Band 2

Dentons

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Managing partner Aigoul Kenjebayeva is "very well respected" and well known for her frequent representation of major multinational clients in Kazakhstan-related disputes. She is particularly focused on the energy and construction industries and well known for her familiarity with arbitration proceedings. 

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Band 2

Baker McKenzie - CIS, Limited

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Managing partner Azamat Kuatbekov is widely recognised for his litigation work and acts for clients involved in a broad range of commercial disputes across the energy, construction and natural resources sectors.

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Band 2

Dentons

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Kanat Skakov enjoys a high reputation for his tax litigation practice and also acts on a broad range of financial issues, including debt recovery, customs payment disputes and transactional payment disputes. Sources praise his detailed approach, one saying: "He has the technical skill. I would rate him highly."

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Band 2

Kinstellar

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Mukhit Yeleuov heads the disputes practice at Kinstellar, having lately joined the team from Dechert. Sources highlight him as "a good litigation specialist," characterising him further as an adviser who is "highly capable and efficient, reacts promptly to issues" and is "an excellent communicator." He is particularly recommended where disputes with tax and customs authorities are involved. 

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Band 3

Bolotov & Partners LLP

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Vladimir Furman of Bolotov & Partners LLP is a highly experienced disputes specialist of over 30 years' standing, respected both as an advocate in litigation cases and as an active arbitrator. He acts extensively for energy companies, banks and large corporate entities in contractual and corporate disputes.

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Band 3

SIGNUM Law Firm

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Department head Talgat Sariev is a noted litigator who regularly represents energy clients in disputes with state authorities. Clients value him as an adviser who is both "focused on straightforward issues" and "into the detail" and can "answer the specific issues we have."

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Band 3

Aequitas Law Firm

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Practice head Valikhan Shaikenov has been called "one of the younger stars" in the disputes market. Increasingly visible in the market, acting for both international and domestic clients, he is also characterised as: "A guy you'd go back to. He's solid, commercially viable and gives realistic advice." 

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Band 3

Sayat Zholshy & Partners

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Managing partner Vitaliy Vodolazkin is noted for his pragmatic approach to disputes, one interviewee reporting: "He has very good knowledge of the client's business. He's very responsive and he provides the response in a way, and in the timeframes, we need." His flexibility is also praised by an interviewee who notes: "He can offer not just one way, but two, three, four options to solve a problem."

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Up and Coming

GRATA International

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Practice head Bakhyt Tukulov enters the table, having been highlighted by numerous sources for his high level of activity, sharp strategic and tactical insight and dedication to client interests, one interviewee reporting: "If you had him on your team then he would give you a creative approach, he wouldn't leave any stone unturned."

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Associates to watch

Baker McKenzie - CIS, Limited

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Associate Alexander Korobeinikov is a well-known and "very experienced" presence in the disputes market. He represents clients involved in a broad range of disputes and sources view the diversity of his practice as a strength, one observing: "He has in-depth knowledge of arbitration procedures and state court procedures as well." 

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Associates to watch

Baker McKenzie - CIS, Limited

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Associate Andrei Yorsh is a notable market player, praised for his "results-oriented approach" and excellent presentation skills. His key areas of strength include IP and tax disputes.

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