Scenario: A plaintiff pursues a claim by statement of claim issued within the limitation period, fails to serve the statement of claim within the time prescribed by the rules, the court refuses leave for late service, and if the plaintiff were to reissue the statement of claim the claim pursued in it would be statute-barred. Is the claim out of time? According to the Court of Appeal in Sultan v. Hurst, yes:
 The appellant appeals the decision of the motion judge refusing to validate the late service of the statement of claim. The claim was issued within the two year limitation period following the accident, but was served more than two years after the expiry of the six month limit to serve a statement of claim set out in r. 14.08(1) of the Rules of Civil Procedure. By the time the claim was served, the limitation period had expired. Therefore, the practical effect of the motion judge’s order was to prevent the plaintiff from pursuing his claim.
I have trouble with this reasoning. The proceeding in respect of the claim was commenced in time, which means there can be no limitations defence. I gather that the motion judge found late service rendered the proceeding a nullity (or struck out the statement of claim?). The motion judge’s decision isn’t available, so we can only speculate. Either way, the impact of the decision was evidently that there was no longer a proceeding, and so it became necessary for the plaintiff to commence a new proceeding in respect of the same claim, but this new proceeding was out of time.
The Court of Appeal seems to have taken for granted that non-compliance with r. 14.08(1) nullifies (practically, if not technically) a proceeding. I’m not sure this is necessarily so.