The new law regulates issues relating to hierarchy, legal
force, and interpretation of legislative acts.
On 19 April, a new law on legal acts took effect in Kazakhstan.
The new law repealed the previous law on regulatory legal acts of
24 March 1998 (the old law). The new law's main provisions are
Official Clarification of Provisions Contained in Regulatory
The new law uses the term "clarification"
instead of the term "interpretation"
of legal norms. In contrast with the old law, the new law sets
clearer limitations of an official clarification:
Acts that contain an official clarification of regulatory legal
acts shall not create legal norms and shall not fill the gaps in
An official clarification of a regulatory legal act is made
solely to understand the content of the law but shall not change
the meaning of the legal norms and shall not extend beyond the
The old law defined "state bodies" as having the right
to make an official interpretation of the Constitution and bylaws.
No such state body was appointed for the official interpretation of
The new law provides the right to make official clarification of
the legislative acts to the prosecutor office (except for
resolutions of the Kazakhstan Parliament and its Chambers). Such
clarification is considered an act of prosecutor supervision and is
made in accordance with the Law on Prosecutor Office. This
"clarification" authority has already been provided in
the Law on Prosecutor Office and it was generally understood that
such "clarification" is not equal to the official
"interpretation" of the law.
Importantly, other state bodies may still make clarifications of
regulatory legal acts (within their authority), including
legislative acts, in relation to specific entities and
circumstances. However, such clarifications do not have a legal
force and are of a recommendation nature.
In general, the New Law seems to exclude the official
"interpretation" from its coverage and only limit itself
to the "clarification" of law. For example, the
Constitutional Council still has a right to make official
interpretation of the Constitution, and such interpretation
(documented as a normative resolution of the Constitutional
Council) is binding in Kazakhstan for all entities.
Analogy of Statute and Analogy of Law
The new law provides the possibility to use an analogy of
statute (i.e., application of statutes that govern similar public
relations toward nonregulated public relations) and an analogy of
law (i.e., application of general principles of law and principles
of specific branches of law toward nonregulated public
An analogy of law only applies if an analogy of statute cannot
apply. That being said, creating new obligations or restricting the
rights of persons and legal entities is prohibited when applying an
analogy of state or an analogy of law.
Applying an analogy of statute or an analogy of law in a
particular branch of law is set out by that specific branch of law.
For instance, the Criminal Code directly prohibits application of
criminal law by analogy.
Normative and Non-normative Legal Acts
The new law makes a clear distinction between normative and
non-normative acts. The latter include acts of official
clarification of regulatory legal acts, legal acts of an individual
application, and legal acts in the area of the state planning
Codes regulate specific public relations only. The new law
extends the applicability of codes to entrepreneurial relations
(e.g., the recently adopted Entrepreneurial Code) and subsoil use
relations (the respective code has not been adopted yet).
Hierarchy of Regulatory Legal Acts and Contradictions of Legal
In general, provisions relating to the hierarchy of regulatory
legal acts as well as the contradiction of legal norms in different
regulatory legal acts remain the same.
The new law introduces new terms, such as "consolidated
law" (this term's definition is unclear because such
consolidated law has the same legal force as a general law) and
"draft law concept" (as a general rule, an authorized
body shall develop a concept of the respective draft law prior to
developing the actual draft law).
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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