Edmund is the managing partner of Braddell Brothers LLP, founded in 1883. He frequently appears as counsel in Singapore’s High Court and Court of Appeal, as well as in international arbitrations in Singapore and abroad. He also sits as an arbitrator in Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Vietnam. Edmund’s wide-ranging practice includes commercial and corporate disputes, energy, media and telecommunications, medical negligence and misconduct, corporate insolvency, cross-border and complex family litigation, pre-emptive relief and injunctions.
Describe your career to date.
I joined Drew & Napier as a pupil in 1996. Over my next eight years there, I honed my advocacy, strategic and client skills, working first for Raj Singam, then Jimmy Yim SC, then Davinder Singh SC, until I was headhunted in 2004 to become director and head of litigation and dispute resolution of a 40-lawyer local firm. In 2009, Tan Kok Peng and I got together to rejuvenate Braddell Brothers, then Singapore’s third-oldest independent practice, shaping it into the litigation and arbitration boutique powerhouse that it is today.
On what sorts of matters do clients come to you most frequently at present?
Difficult cases, painful cases, seemingly hopeless cases – my colleagues and I have a knack for attracting these, probably because we excel at them. I relish the challenge of establishing new angles of attack and thinking out of the box. We are the firm that clients come to when others say, “it is too difficult” or “nothing can be done”.
How has the litigation process changed since you started practising?
Singapore’s litigation processes have evolved greatly in the last 25 years. The 1990s saw the litigation process in the Singapore courts (which used to take 3–4 years) accelerate rapidly such that one could get to judgment in 12–15 months, on average. That process now generally takes around 16–20 months, which is a bit more civilised and allows cases to be presented more effectively and fairly, with enough time to explore mediation and negotiation. In 2019, we will see sweeping reforms to the Rules of Court, changing the litigation landscape yet again.
What do clients look for in an effective litigator?
To be effective, a litigator must be much more than an excellent advocate. He or she needs the ability to discern what the client’s true problems and objectives are, and then to translate that understanding into meaningful results for the client, whether in court, arbitration, mediation or negotiation. Litigators also need the ability to discern what the judge’s (or tribunal’s) true concerns are, and address them fully. One must be an empathic communicator and strategist, in and out of Court.
You have a wide-ranging practice - what is the most memorable case you have been a part of?
While my most significant win involved blocking the enforcement of Astro’s $250 million SIAC arbitral award against various Lippo companies, my most memorable case by far involved a 31-day (successful) medical negligence trial before the Singapore High Court involving a bilateral varicocelectomy (look it up), scrotal hematoma, testicular atrophy, hormonal compromise and defence theories involving a sugar-cane press with a mock-up of a lavatory constructed in the courtroom (complete with toilet bowl). There was even a site-visit by the judge to the hospital, with biomechanical analysis conducted by Singapore’s top two universities. As if all that were not memorable enough, I was allowed to cross-examine the medical experts, despite being a senior associate of 4 years’ PQE. It was an extremely tiring, but highly fulfilling, experience.
How do you see your practice developing over the next five years?
As Singapore litigators, we have no choice but to be international in outlook, and this will no doubt progress further, eg, through more frequent appearances against foreign counsel in arbitrations and in the Singapore International Commercial Court.
As managing partner of Braddell Brothers, what do you believe makes your firm stand out from the competition in the market?
Three key points: First, as a ‘pure’ disputes practice, we very rarely have any conflicts of interests; we are able to act against financial institutions, massive multinationals and even States. Second, despite being a boutique, we have the skillset, capacity and tenacity to take on teams from large firms and international practices, punching well above our weight – we do this on a daily basis. Third, each and every one of our partners is ‘hands-on’ and a strategist, focused on tackling disputes holistically, not just in the courtroom. We believe in ‘360-degree’ dispute resolution (more information on our website).
What advice would you give to someone starting a career as a litigator?
Get before the Court as early in your career, as you can. Never fear the Court. Be bold, but always respectful. When you win, do not let it go to your head. When you lose, get up, dust yourself off and do better in the next case.
Edmund Kronenburg impresses market sources with his top-tier handling of joint venture, shareholder and corporate liability disputes among others.
Edmund Kronenburg is the managing partner of Braddell Brothers LLP, Singapore’s second-oldest independent law practice, founded in 1883 by the sons of Singapore’s first attorney-general. He is admitted as an advocate and solicitor (Singapore), and as a solicitor (England and Wales).
Edmund has over 22 years’ experience in dispute resolution, litigation and arbitration, regularly appearing as counsel before the Singapore courts as well as in international arbitrations. His diverse practice includes commercial and corporate disputes; breach of confidence; defamation; energy and natural resources; media and telecommunications; and pre-emptive relief and injunctions (including worldwide Mareva/freezing Injunctions of over US$1 billion in combined value).
Besides his commercial disputes practice, Edmund also represents the Singapore Medical Council in medical disciplinary hearings, and private clients in medical negligence lawsuits before the Singapore courts. These include some landmark decisions of the Singapore Court of Appeal and the Court of Three Judges. Edmund is an honorary legal adviser to the Academy of Medicine, Singapore; the vice president (legal) of the Medico-Legal Society of Singapore; and a member of the Singapore Medical Association’s Centre for Medical Ethics and Professionalism teaching faculty.
Edmund also actively sits as an arbitrator, and has conducted arbitrations seated in Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Vietnam, as sole arbitrator, tribunal chairman/presiding arbitrator and tribunal member. He is a fellow of CIArb, SIArb, MIArb, AMINZ, HKIArb and PIArb. He is also admitted to the panels/lists of, among others, the AIAC (Malaysia, formerly KLCRA), BANI (Indonesia), BDAC (Brunei), CAA (Taiwan), HKIAC (Hong Kong), KCAB (Korea), IIAM (India), NCAC (Cambodia), PIAC (Vietnam), PDRC (Philippines), IMA (Russia), SCCA (Saudi Arabia), SHIAC (Shanghai), TAI (Thailand), VIAC (Vietnam) and VLCAC (Vietnam).
Edmund has received wide recognition in such legal guides as The Legal 500, Chambers & Partners, Best Lawyers, Benchmark Litigation and Asialaw.
He has been described by The Legal 500 as “aggressive” and “articulate”; a “good strategist and communicator”, a “trusted confidant” and a “good advocate”; and the “best in class” with a “flair for arbitration” and an ability to provide “great, practical, no-nonsense advice in international arbitrations".
Sources quoted in Chambers: Asia-Pacific (2018) describe Edmund as a “master strategist [who] strikes the right balance between being aggressive and going towards mediation and trying to settle.” The guide adds, “The qualities you'd want in a good litigator – attention to detail and commitment – are played out extremely well … He receives praise from clients for his ‘no-nonsense’ and ‘focused’ approach.” Previously, Chambers: Asia Pacific (2015) quoted a source crediting Edmund with “the ability to think beyond the conventional and has brilliant ideas in terms of legal strategy”.
Edmund is also regarded as a “market-leading lawyer” by Asialaw and a “dispute resolution star” by Benchmark Litigation.
Outside work, Edmund frequently gives talks and lectures on dispute resolution, arbitration and medical law. He has taught trial advocacy and cross-examination at the National University of Singapore (NUS) law faculty since 1998 and medical negligence at the Duke-NUS Medical School since 2009.
Edmund is privileged to be an invited honorary overseas member of both the Commercial Bar Association and the Chancery Bar Association, both located in England, as well as an active member of the International Association of Defense Counsel, headquartered in Chicago.