Astana financial services authority
The Astana financial services authority (AFSA) was launched on 1 January 2018 as the independent regulator of the AIFC.
The AFSA is the regulator of both financial and non-financial services activities. It regulates Centre Participants1 carrying out financial and ancillary services and capital markets activities within the AIFC. The AFSA is also the regulator of companies registered by the AFSA that carry out non-financial services activities.
The AFSA CEO, Stephen Glynn, was for 13 years a member of the executive team responsible for the development of the regulatory framework of the DIFC.
The AIFC Court provides a common law court system for the first time in the region.
The AIFC Court is established as an independent legal entity in the AIFC territory pursuant to the Law. The AIFC Court is separate and independent from the courts of the Republic of Kazakhstan and consists of two tiers: (i) a Court of First Instance, which includes a specialist Small Claims Court to determine claims up to a value of US$ 150,000, and (ii) a Court of Appeal.
The Court has jurisdiction in relation to disputes arising between AIFC participants, disputes relating to business carried out in the AIFC and regulated by the laws of the AIFC and any disputes transferred to the AIFC Court by agreement of the parties. As with the Courts of the DIFC, this means that parties with no connection to the AIFC may “opt in” to the jurisdiction of the Court by agreeing to give the Court jurisdiction pre or post-dispute. The Court does not have jurisdiction in relation to any disputes that are of a criminal or administrative nature.
There are wide rights of audience. All lawyers with a professional lawyer or advocate practising certificate from anywhere in the world are eligible to register with the AIFC Court Registry to represent parties in cases before the AIFC Court.
The Chief Justice of the Court is the Rt. Hon. The Lord Woolf CH. Lord Woolf is supported by eight other judges.
International arbitration centre
The international arbitration centre (IAC) provides an alternative to court litigation and has its own panel of international arbitrators and mediators as approved by the Chairman of the IAC.
Parties may agree for the IAC to:
- administer their arbitration according to the IAC Arbitration and Mediation Rules;
- administer their arbitration according to UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules or ad hoc arbitration rules;
- administer mediations according to the IAC Arbitration and Mediation Rules or ad hoc mediation rules; or
- provide other forms of alternative dispute resolution.