8. Power to refer parties to arbitration where there is an arbitration agreement.
A judicial authority before which an action is brought in a matter which is the subject of an arbitration agreement shall, if a party so applies not later than when submitting his first statement on the substance of the dispute, refer the parties to arbitration.
The application referred to in subsection (1) shall not be entertained unless it is accompanied by the original arbitration agreement or a duly certified copy thereof.
Notwithstanding that an application has been made under sub- section (1) and that the issue is pending before the judicial authority, an arbitration may be commenced or continued and an arbitral award made.