You must attend the conference or have someone attend it on your behalf. If you don’t your appeal may be dismissed or ‘struck out’.
It is preferable that you attend in person so that you can fully participate in the discussions.
You may choose to be represented by a lawyer or other professional representative. You may also bring:
other people (eg. a family member or friend) for moral support or to talk on your behalf (where the court permits) and
experts that support your appeal (eg. a builder, architect or town planner).
The authority against whose decision you are appealing (and any other parties) will also send a representative (or perhaps more than one representative). They are also entitled to bring a lawyer and other people (eg. experts)
The conference will be run by either a commissioner or judge. The commissioner’s or judge’s secretary will also attend the conference.