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 Jerome Kronenburg impresses market commentators with his deep expertise in medical negligence claims and cross-border asset disputes.
Edmund Kronenburg is the managing partner of Braddell Brothers. He is admitted as an advocate and solicitor (Singapore) and solicitor (England and Wales).
As litigation counsel, Edmund is actively engaged in trial and appellate advocacy, predominantly in Singapore’s High Court and Court of Appeal. He has also been instructed by other solicitors to act as counsel. Edmund has argued against a variety of Senior Counsel in trials and other hearings, and against Queen's Counsel (successfully) in an appeal before the Singapore High Court in July 2012. Edmund is an invited honorary overseas member of the UK’s Commercial Bar Association and Chancery Bar Association, and a member of the International Association of Defense Counsel.
Edmund’s practice areas include commercial litigation and arbitration, pre-emptive relief and injunctions, medical negligence and misconduct, corporate insolvency, and complex family and matrimonial litigation.
Since 2010, Edmund and his team have been instructed on worldwide Mareva injunctions with a combined value of over US$1 billion.
Edmund and his team also acted for the Indonesian Lippo group’s First Media in successfully resisting the enforcement of over 99% of a US$250 million SIAC arbitration award obtained against it by the Malaysian Astro group, in Singapore.
As arbitration counsel, Edmund represents clients in international arbitrations, predominantly under the SIAC, ICC and UNCITRAL Rules. He is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, the Singapore Institute of Arbitrators, the Malaysian Institute of Arbitrators, the Arbitrators' and Mediators' Institute of New Zealand, the Hong Kong Institute of Arbitrators and the Philippine Institute of Arbitrators.
Edmund also actively sits as an arbitrator and is admitted to several arbitration panels and lists internationally.