Kazakhstan International Trade in Legal Services

Kazakhstan International Trade in Legal Services


Is there legislation governing the legal sector

Republic of Kazakhstan Law "On Advocate Practice" of 5 December 1997 and Republic of Kazakhstan Law "On Notary Practice" of 14 July 1997

Under what title do lawyers practise?

 Lawyer, advocate, notary.

How does an individual lawyer obtain a "licence" to practise law? How often must this be renewed?













Legal assistance may be provided in Kazakhstan by (i) advocates, (ii) law firms, (iii) privately practising lawyers, and by persons with no legal education.
1. Lawyers may work in enterprises, institutions or organizations and provide services to their employer according to their official duties within the powers granted to them by legislation.
2. Lawyers may practice privately and provide legal services to individuals and legal entities independently or via law firms and companies.
3. Lawyers may work as advocates, provided they meet the qualification requirements.  Article 1 of the RK Law "On Advocate Practice" defines such practice as "advocate activities for the defence in criminal cases, representation in civil, administrative, criminal and other cases, and for the provision of other types of legal aid in order to defend and assist in the exercise of the rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of individuals and the rights and legitimate interests of legal entities."
According to Article 7 of the Law "On Advocate Practice," an advocate must be a citizen of the Republic of Kazakhstan, possess a Master's degree in law and a licence from the Ministry of Justice and be a member of the Bar.  In order to obtain a licence, a prospective advocate must have no criminal or disciplinary record and must have full civil legal capacity.
4.  Lawyers may work as notaries, provided they meet qualification requirements.  Pursuant to Article 6 of the RK Law "On Notary Practice," a notary must be a citizen of the Republic of Kazakhstan twenty five or more years of age, possessing a higher legal education and at least two years of work experience in the legal profession, having completed at least one year internship with a notary, and having passed attestation with a justice attestation commission and licensed to practice as a notary.

Does this entitle the holder to practise throughout the country? If the law license only permits one to practice on a sub-national level, please explain the jurisdictional limits

An advocate may work in any administrative-territorial unit of the country, provided that he/she duly complies with his/her obligations with respect to the Bar to which he/she belongs and meets tax requirements.
A notary cannot conduct activities outside the place of his/her recorded registration, except for the cases provided for by legislation.  A notary cannot be employed within a commercial entity.

Are there certain activities that are "reserved" to those who are licensed to practise law in the jurisdiction?

Only licensed Kazakh advocates may represent individuals and legal entities in criminal defence cases.  Lawyers who wish to practise outside the area of criminal defence do not require a licence. Notarial activities may be conducted by state (public) or private notaries. 

Do you need to hold local nationality to be eligible to practise law?

Foreign lawyers may provide legal services unrelated to advocate activities and notarial services.

What legal forms can lawyers work in? (e.g. self employment, partnership, limited liability partnership, multi-disciplinary partnership, incorporation)





Legal services are provided in accordance with the provisions of the current civil, tax and other legislation governing legal relations in the business sphere.  Private lawyers can choose to practise as sole practitioners or organize themselves into a legal entity (firm, company, etc.).
An advocate may independently choose the form of advocate activities.   According to the law, an advocate may work through a legal advice bureau, independently or together with other lawyers, a law firm, or work on an individual basis without registering a legal entity.
A privately practising notary can engage in notarial activities without forming a legal entity, by being a member of a notary chamber and registering with the territorial justice authority.

What other ethical or regulatory requirements must a licensed lawyer comply with? 

Advocates must adhere to the statutory requirements and Professional Ethics Code.
Notaries must adhere to the statutory requirements and Notary Honour Code.

Do law firms need to receive a "license" (or permission/approval) to practice law?

Advocates who exercise their professional activities through a legal entity must provide the relevant constituent documents, including the Charter, to the Bar and register with the tax authorities as prescribed by the Kazakhstan legislation.  They must report on their activities as prescribed by the Charter.

Which authority issues licences? Are there different authorities for individuals and firms? 

Licences are issued by the Ministry of Justice. Only individuals can be issued advocate and notary licenses.



Are there any explicit rules or restrictions other than visas on fly in fly out practice of law? Ie. Do you need to obtain a licence for temporary practice?

There are no explicit restrictions on the fly-in fly-out practice of law outside the regulated area of criminal defence.  The license is required only for advocate and notary practice (please see answers above).

Can a foreign lawyer obtain a visa to visit clients or to market but not to practice?

Business visitors can obtain a visa to visit Kazakhstan, but must have a contact in Kazakhstan (i.e. must receive an invitation from a local firm of individual before they apply for visas).  Citizens of other CIS countries do not require visas.

Can a foreign lawyer obtain a licence to establish and practise as a foreign legal consultant and what is the scope of this limited licence?

There is no requirement for foreign lawyers to obtain licences to practise as foreign legal consultants in Kazakhstan, given that practice outside of the area of criminal defence and notary services is unregulated.

Are there any conditions that must be fulfilled once a foreign lawyer has been granted a limited licence (e.g. residency requirement)

Not beyond the general requirements for the issuance of work permits to foreign nationals. Residents from the Customs Union do not need work permits.

Are there any conditions that must be fulfilled for a foreign lawyer to qualify for a limited licence? (e.g. prior practice)

There are no conditions, given that practice outside the area of criminal defence and notary services is unregulated.

Are foreign lawyers permitted to undertake arbitration and mediation? The 2004 Law on International Commercial Arbitration allows free choice of arbitrators, provided they are independent.
Are foreign lawyers allowed to appear in court under any circumstances?

There is no prohibition on foreign lawyers appearing in courts in Kazakhstan, except for in criminal cases.

Can foreign lawyers requalify as local lawyers?



The nationality requirement for advocates makes it impossible for non-Kazakh citizens to requalify as local advocates or notaries.  At the same time, foreign lawyers may provide legal services unrelated to advocate activities and notary services.


Can a foreign law firm obtain a licence to open an office?

There is no requirement for foreign law firms to obtain special licences to practise law beyond the usual company registration procedures.

Even if a foreign law firm does not require a legal licence must they register in some form in order to set up an office? (e.g. with a ministry of company affairs etc)

In order to set up a limited liability company in Kazakhstan (the most extensively used legal form), a company must register with the Ministry of Justice.
Are there different types of foreign law firm 'licence'  (e.g. Joint Law Venture, stand alone foreign licence etc)

Not applicable

Is there a quota on the number of licences available?

There are no quantitative limitations on law firms

Are there geographical restrictions on foreign firm licences or on the number of branches a foreign firm can have?

There are no geographical restrictions on law firms

Are there "scope of practice" rules that apply directly to foreign law firms (as opposed to lawyers themselves)? (e.g. home, host, international law), if so, what are they? N/A
Are there restrictions on the corporate form a foreign law firm can take? N/A
Are there rules about the name a foreign law firm can take? N/A
What entity grants a 'license' to a foreign law firm? If that entity is on the Internet, please provide the URL N/A


Are there restrictions on the ownership share of foreign lawyers in a law firm?


May a domestic lawyer be employed by a foreign lawyer or law firm?


Can a domestic lawyer enter into partnership with a foreign lawyer?


Can a domestic lawyer or domestic law firm employ a foreign lawyer?




Other useful sources or comments or links

Official websites:
RK President http://akorda.kz/en/mainpage
RK Government http://en.government.kz
RK Ministry of Justice - www.adilet.gov.kz/en

Verified by

Aequitas Law Firm,  Kazakhstan      www.aequitas.kz     (November 2013)