From year to year, activities of various companies have an increasing environmental impact. The extent of environmental damage grows in proportion to rates of production and natural resource development. In this respect, the Republic of Kazakhstan imposes increasingly tougher environmental requirements on companies. However, such requirements are sometimes very demanding and discriminatory. Thus, in this regard, special legal knowledge is required to correctly assess the situation and offer a satisfactory dispute settlement.

Kazakhstani legislation provides very tough sanctions for environmental violations. For this reason, when settling any environmental dispute, financial considerations are of utmost importance.

Such disputes take place with representatives of environmental authorities. The primary concern is to choose the correct action to defend subsoil users.

GRATA Law Firm’s professionals have extensive experience protecting the interests of private companies and have participated in court hearings and succeeded in protecting clients from unlawful actions of supervisory authorities.

The Environmental Law Department of GRATA Law Firm includes professionals who not only have substantial experience in dispute resolution but also possess the deep theoretical background in the area of environmental law that is necessary to professionally handle complex environmental cases.

The head of our Environmental Law Department is Leila Makhmetova. Over the years, she has given lectures to students of Almaty Law Academy of the Kazakh Humanitarian Law University. Leila Makhmetova is a Candidate of Legal Sciences and an author of more than 50 specialised articles. Many of her students are now working in sectors directly connected with law enforcement, including the courts and the environmental authorities of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

With extensive experience in settling issues related to various violations of environmental law, GRATA offers you a package of services that will assist your company in dealing with any existing problems and prevent potential environmental problems in the future.

Efficiency and professionalism are the most important criteria for evaluating our work with clients. An early request to GRATA for professional legal assistance regarding environmental law issues will save you money and time and will protect your business’ reputation.


Brochure: Environmental Law 

Environmental Due Diligence includes due diligence performed by our lawyers with regard to companies’ activities in connection with observance of environmental requirements, and, as a result of such due diligence, provision of legal opinions and advice. We would like to bring to your attention just a few experience examples of GRATA’s Environmental Law Department in performance of environmental due diligences:

  • performance of environmental due diligence for several mining companies (including gold-mining ones) to identify risks associated with possible environmental offences;

  • performance of environmental due diligence for international companies rendering services on oil extraction with regard to fulfillment of legal obligations and identification of business risks;

  • performance of environmental due diligence in favour of a potential buyer (a large European bank) under a large acquisition of shares transaction of a leading bank of the Republic of Kazakhstan;

  • performance of environmental due diligence of activities of a large energy corporation with regard to acquisition of the corporation’s shares by one of the European banks;

  • performance of environmental due diligence of activities of a large Russian bank with regard to compliance with environmental protection legislation;

  • performance of analysis of compliance with environmental legislation by one of the largest Kazakhstani oil companies;

  • performance of environmental due diligence of activities of uranium-mining companies in favour of a foreign global investor;

  • performance of environmental due diligence of an oil company in order to identify risks associated with possible environmental offences;

  • performance of an audit of activities of an oil company in order to reveal absence of required licenses, approvals, permits of governmental bodies in the area of environmental protection;

  • performance of environmental due diligence of a ship-owner companies group in order to identify risks associated with possible environmental offences;

  • performance of due diligence of an oil company in order to assess its compliance with subsoil use permits and approvals requirements;

  • performance of environmental due diligence of a metallurgical company in order to identify risks associated with possible environmental offences;

  • performance of environmental due diligence of activities of a Kazakhstani oil company with regard to compliance with the legislation on environmental protection;

  • performance of analysis of compliance with environmental legislation by a group of Kazakhstani copper companies.

In the course of Environmental Due Diligence lawyers study and analyze all important documents of a company regarding subsoil use and environmental protection as well as information obtained in course of negotiations. Based on due diligence, lawyers prepare accurate information on the actual state of affairs of any business (mainly companies which are subsoil users) regarding their observance of environmental requirements and norms, and provide practical advice in connection with their findings.

Environmental Disputes and Liability for Environmental Violations

We were asked to assist in protecting the legitimate interests of many large trading companies, oil and gas companies, as well as large exporters of non-ferrous metals in environmental disputes.

In the recent past, we have successfully completed the following projects:

  • advising a large oil company regarding an appeal against a Decree in an administrative offence case connected with sewage disposal;

  • successful protected the interests of a large uranium-mining company in the Economical Court in connection with an appeal against the suspension of operations for violations of industrial safety legislation;

  • successfully protecting the interests of a large oil company in the first, appellate, and cassational courts and the Ministry of Environmental Protection of RK. Our lawyers achieved a dismissal of a claim for damages and cancelation of all fines imposed for environmental violations;

  • successfully protecting the interests of an oil company in the Ministry of Environmental Protection of the Republic of Kazakhstan. As a result of our participation fines imposed for environmental violations were annulled;

  • successfully representing the interests of a company in the chemical sector in the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kazakhstan with regard to settling a dispute over ownership of production wastes;

  • successfully representing a large mining and processing enterprise in the first, appellate and supervisory courts in connection with a claim of a territorial environmental administration for compensation for damages caused by pollution of land and water resources;

  • representing the interests of a number of large foreign oil companies during audits performed by environmental prosecution bodies, territorial environmental administration and an authorised body for subsoil use. Our participation in the audits helped prevent several unreasonable claims against the company;

  • successfully protecting the interests of an oil company in connection with a claim of the regional prosecutor’s office against excessive disposal of production wastes; 

  • successfully protecting the interests of a uranium-mining company in court and in the prosecution bodies in connection with an appeal against a fine for excessive emissions. As a result the amount of the fine was reduced tenfold;

  • representing in court a major oil company appealing against fines for polluting land, waste storage, and the breach of requirements for environmental monitoring of production. Our lawyers achieved the cancelation of all fines;

  • representing in court a metallurgical company in the settlement of a dispute over payment rates for disposal of production waste; 

  • protecting the interests of an oil company during land inspections regarding administrative violations. As a result of our participation the fines were significantly reduced;

  • advising an oil company regarding the legality of fines imposed for not possessing environmental permits and for exceeding the maximum allowable discharge levels;

  • protecting the interests of uranium mining companies in court in connection with claims against them for compensation for damages caused by waste disposal;

  • protecting the interests of a landfill owner in the court of cassation in connection with the unjustified accrual of fees for waste disposal;

  • successfully protected the interests of an oil company with regard to environmental emissions of hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide as a result of associated gas flaring in courts of first instance, appeal and cassation, and the administrative court; 

  • advising a mining company in connection with the claim for compensation for damages caused by accidental pollution of water bodies;

  • advising an agricultural organisation in connection with the requirements of the tax authority to charge additional fees for waste disposal in the environment;

  • drafting a complaint to the Tax Committee with respect to the notice of the tax audit results, under which the waste recycling company was additionally charged amounts of emissions fee;

  • successfully protected the interests of an oil company with regard to an accidental oil spill into a water body in courts of first instance, appeal and cassation, and the administrative court.

Legal Advice on Environmental Issues

In the course of their careers GRATA lawyers have provided services to many large companies in oil and gas, petrochemical, gold, uranium, and other areas, as well as trade, transport and agricultural organisations. Please find below a brief description of the most relevant work done during the last two years:

  • comprehensive legal opinion on issues relating to obtaining all necessary documents for drilling works prepared for a Kazakhstani mining company;

  • advising a major oil company regarding damage compensation caused by gas flaring without a permit from the Ministry of Oil and Gas;

  • advising a major power generation company on issues regarding reduction of rate for emissions into the environment;

  • advising a local company, which owns a large internet-marketplace, on issues regarding activities within the territory of Kazakhstan, and recognition of possible risks;

  • comprehensive legal opinion on legal liability in connection with the treatment, transportation and storage of radioactive materials for a large foreign uranium company;

  • advising a large foreign oil-and-gas company on legal liability in connection with treatment, transportation and storage of oil products;

  • advising a large oil company on issues regarding a change of environmental requirements for gas flaring as a result of the adoption of the Law of RK 'On Subsoil and Subsoil Use', and issues of liability for environmental violations;

  • legal monitoring and advising on the process of collecting documents and submitting requests to the Ministry of Environmental Protection to obtain environmental permits, performed on behalf of many large oil-and-gas companies. As a result of our actions all declared environmental emissions limits have been accepted and approved by the Ministry, as reflected in the issued permits;

  • upon the request of one of the largest oil-and-gas consortia, we analysed environmental legislation regarding production and consumption of waste, prepared systematised reference material which was used by the consortium in its day-to-day production activities;

  • comprehensive legal opinion on legal liability in connection with treatment of radioactive materials for one of the largest Kazakhstani uranium producers and exporters;

  • performed a legal risks assessment regarding certain chapters of the Environmental Code of RK and prepared a plan of corrective actions for a group of subsoil users;

  • prepared a legal opinion for a large oil company regarding issues of disposal of waste waters originating from oil production;

  • prepared legal opinions on issues of economic assessment of environmental damage and gave other explanations to a number of large foreign companies regarding payment for environmental emissions;

  • advised subsoil users on legality of audits of state environmental bodies;

  • advised an oil company on drafting a contracting agreement and the need to obtain a permit for environmental emissions;

  • advised a phosphoric company on legal regulation of production wastes;

  • advised an oil company on drafting an agreement for disposal of strata waters in view of requirements of environmental legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan;

  • advised a foreign investment company on alternative energy business in Kazakhstan;

  • exhaustive legal opinion on issues of obtaining all necessary documents for drilling works prepared for a Kazakhstani mining company;

  • consulting a major oil company regarding damage compensation caused by gas flaring without the permit of the Ministry of Oil and Gas;

  • advising a major power generation company on issues regarding reduction of rate for emissions into the environment;

  • advising a local company, which owns a large internet-marketplace, on issues regarding activities within the territory of Kazakhstan, and recognition of possible risks;

  • prepared a comprehensive legal opinion on legal liability in connection with the treatment, transportation and storage of radioactive materials for a large foreign uranium company;

  • advised a large foreign oil-and-gas company on legal liability in connection with treatment, transportation and storage of oil products;

  • advised a large oil company on issues of change of environmental requirements to gas flaring as a result of adoption of the Law of RK 'On Subsoil and Subsoil Use', and issues of liability for environmental violations;

  • prepared a legal opinion for a large oil company regarding issues of disposal of waste waters originating from oil production;

  • prepared legal opinions on issues of economic assessment of environmental damage and gave other explanations to a number of large foreign companies regarding payment for environmental emissions;

  • advising a Kazakhstani energy company on obtaining quotas for emissions of greenhouse gas, drafting a memorandum for the Kazakhstani mining company on permissive documents required for drilling;

  • advising a Kazakhstani transport company on issues related to environmental emissions;

  • drafting a memorandum for a Kazakhstani oil company on the legal consequences of an accident at a well.

Environmental Requirements in Contractual Practice

  • analysis of provisions of the EPC Contract for compliance with requirements of environmental legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Name Position Contacts
Bakhodir Jabborov Managing Partner Inquire
Nurbol Kissembayev Partner, Branch Director Inquire
Leila Makhmetova Counsel, Director of Environmental Law Department Inquire
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31.01.2014

GRATA's Environmental Law Department has won the court proceedings for the benefit of a subsoil user

In January 2014, the Environmental Law Department has won the court proceedings for the benefit of a subsoil user. The first-instance court has denied the environmental authority to recover environmental damages caused by dust emissions.


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Key contacts

Leila Makhmetova

Counsel, Director of Environmental Law Department

Almaty

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