An own-admission authority school can appoint an appeals clerk, and the clerk in turn can appoint suitable people as panel members. There are rules about who can and cannot serve as a panel member.
1.4 Admission authorities must ensure that every appeal hearing consists of:
a) at least one lay member. Lay members are people without personal experience in the management or provision of education in any school (though it is permissible to use people who have experience as governors of other schools, or who have been involved in education in any other voluntary capacity); and
b) at least one person with experience in education, who is acquainted with educational conditions in the area, or who is the parent of a registered pupil at a school.
1.5 The following people are disqualified from membership of an appeal panel and admission authorities therefore must not allow them to sit on panels:
a) any member of the local authority which is making the arrangements or which maintains the school in question;
b) any member or former member of the governing body of the school in question;
c) any person employed by the local authority in a capacity connected with education, or the governing body of the school in question, other than a person employed as a teacher or as a teaching assistant;
d) any person who has, or at any time has had, any connection with the authority or the school, or with any person within sub-paragraph c), of a kind which might reasonably be taken to raise doubts about his ability to act impartially in relation to the authority or the school;
e) any person who does not satisfy the training requirements as set out in the Appeals Regulations.
Admission authorities must not allow a teacher or teaching assistant to sit on appeal panels considering appeals against decisions about admissions to their school. Admission authorities must not allow a person to sit on an appeal panel considering an appeal against a decision if they were among those who made the decision, or provided information which contributed to the decision.
Own-admission authority schools can request the LA to handle appeals on their behalf, which in my view is preferable.
See the Q&As:http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeals/general#a6