3.27: Extension of time for service

Case Summary

The Plaintiff applied to extend the time for service of the Statement of Claim in a personal injury Action. Master Mason noted that Rule 3.27 allows the Court to extend time for service if a defendant leads a plaintiff or a plaintiff’s lawyer to believe that liability is not contested or that a time limit will not be relied on.

Master Mason noted that the Defendant led Plaintiff’s counsel to believe that the time limit for service would not be relied upon. Nearly two months after the expiry of the limitations date for service of the Statement of Claim, the Defendant’s insurance adjuster contacted Plaintiff’s counsel requesting additional records in order to “reach a fair settlement”. Master Mason noted that the Court had inferred a standstill agreement in similar circumstances, and concluded that it was reasonable for Plaintiff’s counsel to “rely on the belief that the time limit related to service of the claim would not be relied on”.

Master Mason clarified that the decision to extend time under Rule 3.27 is discretionary. The Court can assess prejudice in the circumstances of each case. In this case, the Plaintiff had filed a Statement of Claim and provided a copy to the Defendant’s insurance adjuster shortly after filing. As such, Master Mason found no evidence of prejudice arising from an extension of time. The Application to extend time for service was granted.

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