Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution. The parties to a lawsuit chose an arbitrator to serve as a judge-like decision maker. They present their cases to the arbitrator, who renders a decision. Arbitration can be binding or nonbinding. If it is binding, the parties must abide by it, just as they would have to abide by a ruling in a trial. It is used in civil cases and except in reference to the most minor crimes, cannot be used in criminal matters.