The Legal System:
The Kazakh legal system is a civil law system.
The Legal Profession:
The legal profession in Kazakhstan is divided into: (1) commercial lawyers who provide commercial legal services and are subject to general civil and tax legislation and other legislation governing legal relations between commercial entities; and (2) advocates whose practice is regulated by the Law on Advocates and who are authorised to represent clients in the courts of Kazakhstan.
Regulation of legal profession:
Commercial lawyers do not have a special status under Kazakh law, are not specifically regulated and do not enjoy the same privileges and immunities as advocates. They are regulated no differently than other entrepreneurs and do not require a licence to practice, although they should have a law degree. Commercial lawyers cannot represent clients in the courts of Kazakhstan.
Advocates must have a law degree, have passed a qualifying exam and have carried out a period of training of at least 3 months with an experienced advocate before they can obtain a licence. Licences are issued by the Ministry of Justice.
There are approximately 4,000 advocates in Kazakhstan who are licensed and regulated by the Ministry of Justice.There are 16 regional bar associations, as well as city bar associations in Almaty and Astana which represent the advocates resident there. The Union of Advocates of Kazakhstan is the federal body which represents the interests of advocates at national level but does not have any regulatory or licensing powers. The Union of Advocates is based in Astana.
Foreign law firms wishing to establish in Kazakhstan can do so through a representative office which is treated as a commercial entity and subject to the relevant local legislation on commercial activities. There is no requirement for foreign lawyers to register with a Kazakh bar associations to practice as a foreign lawyer but foreign lawyers cannot conduct litigation or advocacy work in the Kazakh courts.
Kazakhstan was added to the recognised jurisdictions list for the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS) in 2015.The QLTS is the route by which lawyers from other jurisdictions can be admitted as solicitors of England and Wales.
The QLTS does not require a degree in common law or even an LLM from a UK university. Qualifying via this route does not require a training contract or experience with a UK law firm either. The Scheme is managed by the Law Society for England and Wales’ regulatory arm, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), and by Kaplan QLTS.
The tests are designed to ensure that requalifying lawyers meet the same standard of knowledge and skill required of a locally-qualified solicitor of England and Wales.
For more information on QTLS and application process please visit the SRA’s website.
On 30 November 2015,Kazakhstan became the 162nd member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Within the framework of The Accession Protocol of Members, Kazakhstan signed 17 binding agreements, and adopted amendments and made additions to some legislative acts in order to bring Kazakhstan legislation into conformity with the commitments undertaken.