The Astana International Financial Center (AIFC) is an economic hub that seeks to promote international investment and domestic economic growth within Kazakhstan as well as the greater Central Asian region. One way in which the AIFC is able to efficiently perform its functions is through the adoption and use of English Law as a dispute resolution mechanism, as English Law is held in such high regard internationally.
One of the bodies utilising English law is the Academy of Law, which serves as a pillar of the Bureau for Continuing Professional Development within the AIFC. The Academy of Law creates learning opportunities for local workers so as to develop human capital, and seeks to broaden the scope of understanding of these workers to encompass a more international outlook. Since its establishment, over 5000 people have completed training programs through the academy to bolster their particular expertise.
Through the AIFC’s regional influence, the Academy of Law has been able to expand its employee-focused education opportunities to neighbouring countries, allowing for programs in international law, trade, and commercial transactions to benefit both domestic and regional personnel. As programs are conducted online as well as in person, prospective workers do not need to physically visit the centre to benefit. The courses are also translated to prevent language from being a barrier to learning.
The Academy of Law provides courses centred around professional development of lawyers, businessmen and managers, among others. Additionally, a significant focus is placed on law students, whom the Academy sees as the future of law in Kazakhstan and Central Asia. International summer internships based on the AIFC legal framework, on-site work experience and networking with prominent employers are all offered to law students through the Academy of Law. There is also a remote AIFC online Legal Internship Program for law students who are unable to attend in person. In 2020, there were 27 interns from all over the world enrolled in the remote Future Lawyers program. Perhaps the most interesting facet of the Academy of Law is its work with Kazakh judges. Judicial excellence programs in partnership with the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the AIFC Court have been provided, in which over 100 judges have been exposed to international practices in judicial administration, ethics and professional conduct and case management.
One way in which the Academy has been able to provide these education programs so successfully is thanks to the continued development of education-focused technologies or ‘EdTech’. EdTech strives to meet global standards of education delivery and is rapidly expanding in both private and public sectors in Kazakhstan.
The Academy of Law has also begun to work with international legal institutions to expand their list of educational opportunities. Discussions have been held with the Law Society of Hong Kong in which representatives discussed potential collaboration in the regulation of legal services, pro bono services and in LegalTech and EdTech. This collaboration marked the first branching out of the Academy of law beyond Central Asia and will certainly not be the last.
The AIFC’s Academy of Law has sought to bridge the gap between the current business and legal workforce and the desired internationally aware and commercially knowledgeable personnel the AIFC needs in order to maintain its status as a regional financial centre. Through its continued use of, and investment in, EdTech, the Academy of Law looks set to continue to influence present and future generations of the business and legal worlds.
Blog post author: Matt Davies
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