PS - to answer the rest of the questions:
We have been told that an appeal via Skype is not allowed and I was wondering if we have any grounds to ask for a review of that decision.
If I attend the hearing on behalf of the appellant is this allowed?
The only way to 'ask for a review' is if the appeal is conducted not in line with the appeals code, but as Etienne correctly points out, the code only says 'in person, represented or just by paper'.
When we hear appeals that come on paper, we treat the appeal exactly as if the person was there - but we can't ask questions.
To be honest, having a representitive present the case tends to be a second best. I've heard several appeals when it's been a grandparent or uncle presenting the appeal, but invariably they can't answer the questions we ask on the day, as they don't have the intimate knowledge of the child or home circumstances; our questions are not pre-set ones with standard answers that could be put to the remote parents in advance, but ones that come out of listening to the case as presented - which is why appeals just done on paper with no representation are also at a disadvantage.
I would strongly urge a parent to attend the appeal if at all humanly possible.