Who decides whether I win or lose?
Usually a judge. Sometimes you may have a commissioner or temporary judge at your hearing. They both serve in the same role as judges. A commissioner is hired by the court to sit as a judge and hear certain types of cases that the law allows commissioners to hear, such as traffic infractions and small claims cases. A temporary judge (called a “judge pro tem” or “judge pro tempore”) is someone who has been a lawyer for at least 10 years and is specially trained to hear and decide small claims cases. If you do not want a temporary judge, you can ask the court to have a judge hear your case. You may have to come back another day.